Closing arguments near in stepmom’s murder trial in Colorado

May 4, 2023, 11:02 PM

DENVER (AP) — Closing arguments are expected Friday in the trial of a woman accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson in Colorado, putting his body in a suitcase and then dumping it over a bridge in Florida.

Authorities allege Letecia Stauch killed Gannon Stauch by stabbing and shooting him a few hours before reporting him missing on Jan. 27, 2020, while his father was on a National Guard deployment.

Stauch was charged with first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased human body and tampering with physical evidence.

Attorneys for Stauch, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, countered that by claiming she suffered a “major psychotic crack” as a result of childhood trauma when she killed Gannon.

The state mental hospital concluded that Stauch was sane at the time Gannon was killed, The Gazette reported. Under Colorado law, that means understanding the difference between right and wrong and being able to form the intent to commit a crime.

However, the defense’s main witness, Dr. Dorothy Lewis, author of the book “Crazy, Not Insane,” concluded Stauch suffered from dissociative identity disorder, when people have two or more personalities as the result of trauma, and was not sane at the time.

Prosecutors have argued Stauch took steps to cover up her actions are proof that she knew what she did was wrong and was therefore sane. They said she cleaned up blood in Gannon’s bedroom, where he was killed, moving his body to various locations to hide it before disposing of it in the Florida Panhandle.

The woman’s daughter, Harley Hunt, testified last month during the weekslong trial that she never suspected the boy’s body was in a rented van they used when Staunch and Hunt drove together across the country to Florida and then South Carolina in February 2020.

Testifying at the trial in Colorado Springs, Hunt said, “I’m still in shock. I defended her for years. I just feel manipulated and lied to.”

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Closing arguments near in stepmom’s murder trial in Colorado