EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — Thursday marks two years since 11-year-old Gannon Stauch was reported missing by his stepmother, Letecia Stauch. Now, she is accused of his murder, along with a number of other charges.
Landen Hiott, Gannon's mother, said it does not feel like two years without her little boy.
“Today, I really want to be focusing attention on him, regardless of the evil being that is standing… that is going to be there… like, I don't even want to say her name, but I just want the focus to be totally on Gannon because he deserves this," Hiott said. "Maybe it's a coincidence that it's happening today. I don't know.”
Letecia Stauch had a motions hearing Thursday where the results of a mental health evaluation performed at the state hospital were expected to be discussed. However, in court it was revealed the state hospital cannot schedule her evaluation until February, and the court may not have a report on it until March 31. Judge Gregory Werner said that could be problematic, because it is after jury selection is scheduled to start.
Both sides approached the bench at that moment to discuss the timing of the mental health evaluation privately. The issue will be revisited at the pre-trial readiness conference on March 17.
Letecia has been deemed competent to stand trial twice, but this mental health evaluation is not related to competency. At prior hearings, defense attorneys have claimed the evaluation is connected to Letecia. Stauch's actions after the alleged murder of Gannon.
Letecia is pleading not guilty to the charges and is set for trial starting at the end of March. Denver7's Colette Bordelon live tweeted the hearing Thursday afternoon.
Today marks two years since #GannonStauch was first reported missing by his stepmom.— Colette Bordelon (@ColetteBordelon) January 27, 2022
I spoke with his mother, Landen Hiott, on the phone.
"It's overwhelming, just to see the support and the love. Two years. And it seems like it just grows. It hasn't decreased."@DenverChannel pic.twitter.com/EK2wTQVa9s
Letecia must tell the court at least a week before any proceedings if she wants to waive her right to be present. She appeared in-person on Thursday.
Defense attorneys state that, depending on the results of the mental health evaluation, an insanity plea could still be coming.
One, filed by #LeteciaStauch's defense team, says an insanity plea is NOT off the table.— Colette Bordelon (@ColetteBordelon) December 18, 2021
In court, it's been said the mental health evaluation she's undergoing is not related to competency or insanity, but if it proves insanity, could be introduced at trial as such: pic.twitter.com/RCZP6SeINS
Court documents showed the defense has filed a motion to change venue and several motions to suppress certain pieces of evidence, like information from an IPhone and a wiretap. The motions to suppress the different kinds of evidence were all denied by the judge on Thursday. Defense Attorney Josh Tolini said a questionnaire for the jury should address his concerns that would necessitate a change of venue.
Prosecutors allege Letecia Stauch murdered her stepson in his Lorson Ranch bedroom on Jan. 27, 2020. They argue she drove his body to the Florida panhandle, where it was found in March of 2020 inside of a suitcase and under a bridge.
At her preliminary hearing Gannon's autopsy results were revealed, which included one gunshot wound, a skull fracture and eighteen sharp-force injuries.
The gunshot wound was in Gannon's lower left jaw area and a projectile was recovered from his skull, which was sent to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. Three projectiles were recovered in total from the suitcase by the Santa Rosa Sheriff's Office in Florida, and a sergeant with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office believes a 9 mm gun found in the Lorson Ranch home was used to fire those rounds collected.
Neighbors in Lorson Ranch want to ensure Gannon's memory is not forgotten during all of the courtroom proceedings. Shortly after his disappearance, Bliss Studio and Gallery along with Platinum Powder Coating crafted a statue of Gannon based on an artist's rendering showing the young boy in a cape.
“Sort of a superhero. He became a sign for people, of just someone who was extra special. I know his mom really identifies with that as well," said Kellie McGregor, who lives in Lorson Ranch. “He really became something bigger than himself.”
The neighbors are raising money to ship the statue to a memorial for Gannon in South Carolina, where his mother lives. Hiott said she cannot express her gratitude enough for the outpouring of love and support from the community.
“They've captured every being of Gannon and what he represents, not only to us, but to everyone. And they portrayed that to perfection," Hiott said. “To also see the legacy without Gannon being here, what he's passed on through others and to others. And it's overwhelming, just to see the support and the love. Two years, and it just seems like it just grows. It hasn't decreased, and it's just overwhelming. And I have so much gratitude.”
Hiott finished the conversation about her son and the statue by encouraging everyone to spread a little love in Gannon's honor.
"You can share a smile. You can just tell someone 'I love you.' Savor every moment that you have. We're not promised another day," Hiott said. "I just want today to be about him. An anniversary of love, justice and love for Gannon.”
To read through a full description of the evidence presented during the preliminary hearing, scroll through the tweet thread provided below.
I’m heading to #LeteciaStauch’s preliminary hearing, where prosecutors must prove to the judge there’s enough evidence to take the case to trial.— Colette Bordelon (@ColetteBordelon) September 9, 2021
She’s accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson, #GannonStauch, on Jan. 27, 2020. @KOAA
What we know ➡️ https://t.co/LzTzAA3LGA
Following the discovery in Florida, the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office filed additional charges against Stauch. Here's a full list:
- Count 1 - Murder in the first degree (first-degree felony)
- Count 2 - Murder in the first degree (first-degree felony)
- Count 3 - Child abuse resulting in death (second-degree felony)
- Count 4 - Tampering with a deceased human body (third-degree felony)
- Count 5 - Tampering with physical evidence (sixth-degree felony)
- Count 6 - Crime of violence (special enhancer) - use of firearm
- Count 7 - Crime of violence (special enhancer) - use of a blunt instrument
- Count 8 - Crime of violence (special enhancer) - use of a knife or other sharp instrument
- Count 9 - Crime of violence (special enhancer) - unlawfully causing the death of Gannon Stauch
- Count 10 - Crime of violence (special enhancer) - use of a firearm related to murder in the first degree - child under 12 years of age
- Count 11 - Crime of violence (special enhancer) - use of a blunt instrument related to murder in the first degree - child under 12 years of age
- Count 12 - Crime of violence (special enhancer) - use of a knife or other sharp instrument related to murder in the first degree - child under 12 years of age
- Count 13 - Crime of violence (special enhancer) - unlawfully causing the death of Gannon Stauch related to murder in the first degree - child under 12 years of age