Colorado woman convicted of murdering her 11-year-old stepson

A Colorado jury found Letecia Stauch guilty of murdering her 11-year-old stepson, Gannon Stauch, on Monday. The jurors rejected her claim of insanity during the attack. Letecia Stauch was convicted of all charges related to Gannon’s killing, which occurred more than three years ago.

Prosecutors said she stabbed the boy 18 times, struck him in the head, and shot him once in January 2020. They argued that she killed Gannon out of hatred and to hurt his father, Al Stauch, whom she intended to leave and who was away on a National Guard deployment at the time.

Letecia Stauch did not deny killing Gannon and transporting his body across the country in a suitcase inside a rented van. However, she pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The defense claimed she killed Gannon during a “psychotic break” induced by traumatic physical, emotional, and sexual abuse she experienced during her childhood.

State mental hospital experts determined that Letecia Stauch had a personality disorder featuring borderline and narcissistic traits but was sane when she killed Gannon. Under Colorado law, sanity entails understanding the difference between right and wrong and having the ability to form criminal intent.

Dr. Dorothy Lewis, the defense’s primary witness and author of the book “Crazy, Not Insane,” concluded that Letecia Stauch had dissociative identity disorder, which involves having multiple personalities due to trauma, and was not sane during Gannon’s murder. However, prosecutors highlighted that Lewis did not understand Colorado’s legal definition of sanity.

In the weeks before Gannon’s killing, Letecia Stauch was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder following a referral to a psychologist while being treated at a military health clinic. Therapist Ronda Niederhauser testified that Letecia Stauch exhibited no signs of being a danger to herself or others and was aware of her surroundings.

Authorities believe Letecia Stauch murdered Gannon in his bedroom hours before reporting him missing on January 27, 2020, claiming he did not return home after playing with friends. Numerous volunteers searched for the boy around the family’s residence near Colorado Springs. However, investigators later discovered that Letecia Stauch had fabricated various stories to mislead them, including an account of being raped by a man she hired to repair a carpet who then kidnapped Gannon.