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Waitlist at state hospital in Pueblo could cause delay in Letecia Stauch murder trial

Stauch appeared in court virtually on Thursday for a hearing about a mental health evaluation.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — Letecia Stauch, the woman accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson Gannon Stauch, is expected to undergo a mental health evaluation surrounding her alleged actions after Gannon's death, but a backlog at the state hospital could cause a delay in the case, 9NEWS partner KRDO reports.

Stauch appeared in court virtually on Thursday for a hearing about the mental health evaluation. Judge Gregory Werner asked why Stauch wasn't present in court, and she said that she hadn't received medication while in jail, and that's why she wasn't appearing. Werner said he had been "pretty patient" with Stauch, and told her that she needs to file a motion seven days in advance before not appearing, or a deputy will bring her to the courtroom.

Stauch, 38, is facing numerous charges in connection with the death of her stepson in early 2020. Gannon was reported missing from the Lorson Ranch neighborhood, but his body was found weeks later in a suitcase near a Florida highway. Stauch is also facing charges for an attempted escape while she was in custody early after her arrest.

The prosecution is requesting that Stauch's mental health evaluation be completed at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo. However, during Thursday's hearing, Werner said he received information that the CMHIP had a 352-person waitlist as of two weeks ago, and he said he believes it has grown since then.

Werner said it's not likely that the evaluation will be completed soon, and Stauch's next hearing was pushed to Jan. 13, though Werner acknowledged they may have to reschedule it again if Stauch is in Pueblo at the time.

Stauch's trial is set for March 28, but a written report from a completed mental health evaluation must be disclosed 63 days before the trial, which would put a deadline for the report in late January. Werner said he's open to suggestions to move the process along faster, but 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said he doesn't believe there are any good solutions.

This evaluation is specifically for Stauch's actions after Gannon's alleged killing. Stauch was already found competent to stand trial for murder after two separate evaluations.

Stauch is being held in custody with no bond at the El Paso County Jail.

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