Judge sets deadline for Letecia Stauch defense

Letecia Stauch brutally murdered her stepson Gannon Stauch, 11, in his bedroom on Jan. 27, 2020, authorities said. (Mugshot: El Paso County Sheriff’s Office)

A Colorado woman accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson may lose a key witness as part of her defense because a doctor for their side has yet to supply a mental health report less than two weeks before trial.

Judge Gregory Werner set what he called a “hard deadline” for Letecia Stauch’s defense of 5 p.m. on March 16 to submit the report. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on March 20. Opening statements are set for April 3.

The prosecution said that if the document arrived too late, they might ask the court to keep this expert witness from testifying. So far, they only received preliminary impressions with no final conclusion, a prosecutor said.  The state also noted two other doctors did meet with her in the pretrial period.

In addition to the mental health report, the defense also wants Stauch, 39, to undergo an MRI.

Stauch is the woman accused of fatally attacking her stepson Gannon Stauch, 11, in his bedroom on Jan. 27, 2020, in El Paso County.  Authorities claimed to find blood on a mattress, walls and floors, as well as in the defendant’s VW Tiguan SUV.

Deputies believed the defendant acted suspiciously when the child was first reported missing. She allegedly told them that Gannon went to play at a friend’s house, but she was described as being unable to tell them the name of the friend or the location of the home.

The suspect allegedly claimed to investigators on January 29, 2020, that a man named “Eguardo” raped her, and kidnapped Gannon. Authorities didn’t buy this story, however. They said she didn’t call 911 about her account, and she didn’t want to look into collecting evidence against the alleged attacker.

Investigators said she fled the state and was arrested across the country in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Stauch at one point acted as her own lawyer and in 2021 made unsubstantiated claims that a doctor who examined her was “clearly an actress” and her defense lawyers were in “cahoots” with the prosecution.

Stauch switched her plea to not guilty by reason of insanity in February 2022, resulting in Werner pushing back the original March 28, 2022, start date of her trial. The judge showed no sign on Wednesday of wanting to push it back any further.

Speaking to the defense, he intimated the seriousness of the deadline. He wanted them to convey this to the doctor.

“It is not a suggestion,” he said. “It is not a guideline. It is not a hope. It is a deadline.”

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