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)

(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.

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