EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — The woman accused of murdering her 11-year-old stepson will represent herself in the trial following a judge's decision at an Arguello advisement hearing in an El Paso County court room Friday morning.
An Arguello advisement is typically used when a defendant wants to represent themselves at trial.
Letecia Stauch requested that she be allowed to represent herself going forward during Friday's hearing. Judge Gregory Werner went through a number of possibilities that Stauch could face if she represents herself. Stauch said she understood and still wanted to move forward.
"It might sound audacious, but I'm really good at poker, and you know that saying 'You got to know when to hold them and when to fold them'? I've got the winning hand...an ace in the hole," Stauch said.
Stauch replied no when the judge asked her if she wanted to retain counsel, but with a different set of attorneys. Stauch said she has a constitutional right to represent herself.
The nearly one-hour hearing ended with Werner granting Stauch her request. Werner ordered that the court would appoint advisory counsel to assist Stauch with certain aspects moving forward.
A status hearing was scheduled for next Friday at 8:30 a.m.
Stauch has another hearing scheduled for March 11 and 12. During this hearing, the prosecution will present evidence, and a judge will decide whether there is enough for the case for it to go to trial.
The Stauch case has been delayed since June after her attorneys questioned whether she was mentally competent to aid in her defense. She had been accused of plotting an escape from jail, and was moved to the state mental hospital in Pueblo for evaluation.
Previously, a judge ruled that Letecia Stauch is competent to stand trial.
Letecia Stauch faces multiple charges in the death of her stepson, Gannon Stauch, who investigators theorize was killed in his bedroom hours before she reported him missing, according to the arrest affidavit.
Gannon’s murder is believed to have occurred in the afternoon of Jan. 27, 2020.
After his murder, investigators believe Letecia Stauch moved his body through the house, into the garage, and loaded it into the back of her Volkswagen Tiguan. She also had her 17-year-old daughter buy carpet cleaner, trash bags, baking soda and vinegar, according to the documents. Investigators theorized in the records that Letecia Stauch then cleaned up the evidence of the killing before calling 911 at 6:55 p.m. that evening to report that Gannon hadn’t returned home after heading out to play with friends.
She later changed her story, claiming she’d been held at gunpoint and raped by a man who abducted Gannon, according to the documents. Investigators could find no evidence to support that story.
Deputies responded to her call that he was missing about 3½ hours after she made it, and they took a report from Letecia and conducted what the documents describe as “a limited search of the residence.” At the time the officers were there, Letecia Stauch’s Tiguan was backed into the garage, according to the records.
Those documents indicate that Gannon’s body was in the car at the time – asserting that it wasn’t until the next evening that investigators believe Stauch dumped his body in the area of Colorado 105 and Perry Park Road. Blood found in the boy’s bedroom, in the garage and on a piece of particle board found in the area of Highway 105 and Perry Park Road all matched the boy’s DNA, according to the affidavit.
That led to a long-running investigation – and extensive searches in El Paso and Douglas counties for Gannon’s remains – that culminated in Stauch’s arrest on March 2 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
She was returned to Colorado and remains behind bars in El Paso County, where she is being held without bail on 13 felony counts:
- First-degree murder after deliberation.
- First-degree murder of a person under 12 by someone in a position of trust.
- Child abuse resulting in death.
- Tampering with a deceased human body.
- Tampering with physical evidence.
- Seven counts of a crime of violence for using a weapon (the weapons listed in the complaint include a firearm, blunt object and sharp object).
- One count of crime of violence – causing severe bodily injury or death
On March 20, El Paso County sheriff’s officials announced that remains found in Florida had been tentatively identified as Gannon’s.
Gannon’s father, Al Stauch, was out of town on duty with the National Guard when the boy vanished.
9Wants to Know Reporter Kevin Vaughan contributed to this report.
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