NATIONAL NEWS

Stepmom in murder trial over boy’s death says ‘I don’t kill’

Apr 5, 2023, 3:56 PM

FILE - This March 5, 2020 booking photo provided by the El Paso County, Colo., Sheriff's Office sho...

FILE - This March 5, 2020 booking photo provided by the El Paso County, Colo., Sheriff's Office shows Letecia Stauch. A prosecutor says Stauch knew what she was doing when she stabbed her young stepson 18 times and then shot him in the head before driving across the country to dump a suitcase with his remains inside over the side of a bridge in the Florida Panhandle. The statement came Monday, April 3, 2023, at the start of the murder trial of Stauch, over three years after Gannon Stauch was killed. (El Paso County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(El Paso County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

DENVER (AP) — The father of an 11-year-old Colorado boy missing for nearly three weeks, called his then-wife and wished her a happy Valentine’s Day. Then, as law enforcement listened in, Albert Stauch pressed Letecia Stauch, who is now on trial for killing the boy, for details about what happened to his son, Gannon.

During the February 2020 call, Letecia Stauch repeatedly told her husband she wanted immunity before she would help. At one point, she blurted out, “I don’t kill people.”

The call was one of several played in court Wednesday, during the second day of testimony in Letecia Stauch’s trial in Colorado Springs. In another call, Albert Stauch asked his now ex-wife if she had killed Gannon and she denied it.

Gannon’s remains were found by bridge inspectors in March 2020, in a suitcase under a bridge on the Florida Panhandle. One of them, Macon Ponder, testified Wednesday that, after unzipping it, he found a body in a fetal position, partially wrapped in blankets.

Prosecutors said Letecia Stauch stabbed Gannon 18 times, shot him and then drove across the country with his body, dumping the suitcase over the side of the bridge.

Albert Stauch agreed to cooperate with law enforcement after, he said, he became suspicious of his ex-wife while his son was missing. He testified that he played along with a variety of accounts his wife offered about what happened to Gannon to try to find out the truth. But he grew increasingly frustrated with her after she claimed a man named Quincy Jones had taken Gannon. The individual, according to Albert Stauch, was someone whose mugshot was easily found on a website of booking photos.

Letecia Stauch had previously said that Gannon had not returned from playing with a friend, but she did not provide the names of any friends he may have been with or their parents. She later claimed that another man had raped her and then abducted Gannon, according to investigators.

“I’m done. Don’t email me, don’t call me until you tell me where my son is,” Stauch told his wife.

Stauch was charged with first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased human body and tampering with physical evidence. She pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in Gannon’s death.

The defense claimed she suffered a “major psychotic crack” as a result of childhood trauma when she killed Gannon. Her lawyers have suggested she developed dissociative identify disorder as a result of being physically, emotionally and sexually abused by her absent mother’s string of partners during her childhood.

But District Attorney Michael Allen has repeatedly stressed that Stauch knew right from wrong, a key element he must show to disprove the insanity claim.

In response to questions from Allen, Albert Stauch said that everything, from his ex-wife’s ability to coach softball, to her reluctance to talk to investigators about Gannon’s disappearance, proved she knew right from wrong.

In questioning Stauch, defense attorney Josh Tolini pointed out that Letecia Stauch had been seeing a psychologist in the months before Gannon was killed and had been prescribed medication that is used to treat anxiety. He also said that Stauch sometimes referred to herself as “Taylor.” Albert Stauch said that was a name she liked, and had once used it as her middle name on her Facebook profile.

National News

Associated Press

Think cicadas are weird? Check out superfans, who eat the bugs, use them in art and even striptease

FOREST PARK, Illinois (AP) — Mayumi Barrack sees a pair of mating periodical cicadas getting together, whips out her phone, says, “Hi guys!” and takes their picture. “I’m not really a bug person, but as I look more and more I feel they are adorable,” Barrack explained, noting that many other creatures — birds, squirrels, […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Police in Maine cancel shelter-in-place order after explosions and fire are reported

AUBURN, Maine (AP) — Police in Maine have canceled a shelter-in-place order in the city of Auburn after reporting that an armed person was in an area where a series of explosions and a house fire erupted early Saturday. The Auburn Police Department said on Facebook that the situation had been resolved and that there […]

4 hours ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

14 hours ago

Associated Press

Couple rescued from desert near California’s Joshua Tree National Park after running out of water

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A couple hiking in the desert south of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California was rescued after running out of water, authorities said. On Sunday, the man called 911 and reported that his girlfriend was dehydrated and weak, according to a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office posted Monday […]

14 hours ago

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people Friday after they were stuck for about half an hour dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park. Portland Fire and Rescue said on the social platform X that firefighters worked with engineers at Oaks Park to manually lower the […]

15 hours ago

Associated Press

Independent report criticizes Cuomo’s ‘top-down’ management of New York’s COVID-19 response

NEW YORK (AP) — An investigation into New York’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic found former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “top down” approach of dictating public health policy through his office, rather than coordinating with state and local agencies, sewed confusion during the crisis. In the state’s nursing homes, where some 15,000 people died, the administration’s […]

15 hours ago

Stepmom in murder trial over boy’s death says ‘I don’t kill’