PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A nationally televised murder trial is underway in Colorado. The woman is accused of killing her stepson before putting his body in a suitcase and throwing him off the side of a Pensacola bridge. This is the story of Gannon Stauch.
WKRG News 5 is looking back at the crimes that shocked the Gulf Coast. Gannon Stauch’s story is the twenty-fourth in the series.
Gannon Stauch, 11, was reported missing from Colorado Springs on Jan. 27, 2020, by his stepmother, Letecia Stauch, 38. Gannon’s father, Albert Stauch was a member of the National Guard and was on deployment at the time. His body wouldn’t be found until nearly two months later in Florida.
Gannon’s body was found under a bridge near Pensacola. His body was wrapped in bedding and inside of a suitcase. Gannon had been stabbed 18 times, shot in the jaw and had a skull fracture. Law enforcement officers said they believe Letecia had killed Gannon in his bedroom while the two were at the home alone on Jan. 27.
Investigators searched Gannon’s bedroom, which is where they found blood spatter on the wall and blood stains on the mattress and carpet. Blood from Gannon was also found on the garage floor and the bumper of Letecia’s car.
Photos of Gannon showed he was still alive that morning. In the photos, a Nintendo Switch gaming system was seen. Detectives said that the gaming system has not been found to this day.
Investigators were able to get the surveillance video from neighbors, which they said showed Letecia and a person who appeared to be Gannon leaving the home that morning. When the vehicle they were seen in returned, Letecia was the only person seen.
After Letecia’s arrest for the murder, she pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
On April 3, 12 jurors were seated with six alternates. Opening statements began with the prosecution describing the murder. In the defense’s opening statement, the attorney told the jurors she was legally insane when she killed Gannon.
Over the following days, multiple people testified for the prosecution including Gannon’s father Al and the doctor that performed Gannon’s autopsy. Al told the jurors that on Jan. 26, Letecia told him that a candle had accidentally spilled and there were “bubbly spots” on both sides of Gannon’s arms. Letecia explained further that Gannon allegedly knocked over the candle which started the fire.
On Jan. 27, Letecia told Al that she didn’t let Gannon go to school because he was having stomach issues, however, she said she let him go to a friend’s house.
Letecia and Al were interviewed on Jan. 28 and afterward, Al went on a solo search for Gannon. It was at that time that Al discovered Letecia’s car was not where she claimed it to be. He went back to the police department for a second interview, this time without Letecia.
Hotel documents show on Feb. 4, Letecia was in the Florida area. Gannon’s body was found in that same area on March 17.
In total, the trial for Stauch lasted 21 days, ending with the jury reaching a verdict on Monday, May 8. The jury deliberated a total of eight hours before delivering a guilty verdict.
After the announcement of the verdict, family members of Gannon asked that Letecia be given the maximum sentence. Al also asked the judge to strip Letecia of his last name.
The judge sentenced Letecia to life in prison without the possibility of parole on two counts of first-degree murder. He also sentenced Letecia to 13.5 years on the charges of tampering with evidence and tampering with a dead body.