Jurors convicted Letecia Stauch, 39, of murder and forgery for killing her stepson Gannon Stauch, 11. Her defense argued that she was insane at the time, suffering from a psychotic breakdown which caused her to act out of anger towards the child.
The prosecution maintained that she knew what she was doing before, during and after the murder.
Prosecutors said she committed the act while her then-husband Al Stauch was out of town working in the National Guard and their other children were away. When Gannon’s younger sister, Laina Stauch, arrived home on the bus on the afternoon of January 27, 2020, the accused made her wait outside.
“She’s making Laina stay out because she has work to do,” prosecutor Dave Young told jurors during closing arguments on Friday. This job consisted of cleaning up the crime scene and hiding the evidence. It was at 6:55 p.m. that she called 911, reporting her missing.
Footage showed her the next day at 6.22am driving her Volkswagen Tiguan for 10 minutes. Young suggested that Stauch go on a practice run to see if anyone would see her move Gannon’s body from the house. She decided to rent another car, he said.
“Is this evidence of psychosis? ” he said. “Or is this evidence of careful thought?”
Eventually, she drove the suitcase from Colorado to Pensacola, Florida. She was arrested in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina while searching for Gannon. Pensacola bridge workers discovered the suitcase containing the child’s remains on March 17, 2020.
The defense said Letecia Stauch lived with dissociative identity disorder. Jurors were shown interview footage in which she spoke to medical experts about her alleged condition.
Dr. Jackie Grimmett, who analyzed his ability to face charges, said Stauch talked to him about having personalities named Taylor, Tecia, Jasmine “and, I believe, Jasper.” But Grimmett said it was inconsistent with dissociative identity disorder.
The defendant chose names based on the things she liked and the aspirations she said.
“The Quirks come your way,” Grimmett said, describing a typical case. “You don’t create them or fancy name them.”
The condition is crippling, she said, with people unable to maintain jobs and relationships. Grimmett suggested that by discussing the different personalities and also pretending to talk to the vampires, Stauch was trying to feel better about being in her situation – being blamed for Gannon’s death.
Dr. Dorothy Lewis, a defense expert, said Stauch may not have remembered killing Gannon.
Famous serial killer psychiatrist Dr. #DorothyLewis alleged accused murderer #LeteciaStauch may not remember killing his stepson Gannon in 2020. “I said it all along,” Stauch told Lewis in an interview. pic.twitter.com/X2Gqd6XWv4
– Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) May 3, 2023
The famous psychiatrist Dr. #DorothyLewis testified that the accused child killer #LeteciaStauch was psychotic at the time of #GannonStauchis murder. “She was out of touch with reality,” Dr Lewis said. pic.twitter.com/lDNRBZl0is
– Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) May 2, 2023
In a video shown to jurors, Stauch, speaking as the so-called protector “Maria Sanchez”, admitted to killing Gannon while talking to Lewis.
Grimmett said the defendant never told him about this character.
Dr. Loandra Torres, a state expert who tested the defendant for insanity, testified that Stauch was sane and capable of forming intent.
In a video released for court, Stauch told Torres that he shot Gannon but believed a man in a black cape had broken into their home. She suggested she confused the child because of the way a blanket was wrapped around him.
“Never in a million years,” she said, insisting she would never deliberately hurt her stepson.
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