Letesia Stauch is guilty of murdering her 11-year-old stepson, Gannon Stauch

In this March 11, 2020 file photo, Letesia Stauch appears in El Paso County District Court in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A Colorado woman accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson pleaded not guilty Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021 to first-degree murder and a dozen other charges. Letesia Stauch was in court for the first time in months after choosing to appear virtually for earlier hearings, The Colorado Springs Gazette reported. (KRDO-TV/The Gazette via AP, Pool, File)

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children via AP

Gannon Stauch

An El Paso County jury on Monday convicted Letesia Stauch of first-degree murder in the death of her 11-year-old stepson, finding that the woman was sane at the time of the brutal attack at the family’s Colorado Springs home three years ago.

Jurors rejected Stauch’s defense that she suffered a mental disorder and was legally insane when she stabbed and shot Gannon Stauch on January 27, 2020.

The 39-year-old woman was also found guilty of tampering with a human body and tampering with evidence.

Immediately after the conviction, Stauch was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole plus 13.5 years in an emotional hearing during which Gannon’s family spoke about his life and death. The 11-year-old boy was born prematurely and weighed just 1 pound, 6 ounces at birth, said his mother, Landon Bullard. When he was born, his father’s wedding ring was on Gannon’s arm next to his shoulder, another relative said.

“You came into this world fighting and unfortunately you left this world fighting,” Bullard said, crying as he spoke in court.

Gannon’s father, Al Stauch, recalled Gannon’s love of video games and sports, as well as his joyful approach to life. He apologized to his son for leaving him alone with Letecia Stauch.

“Gannon, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought you’d be in danger my friend, or I wouldn’t have left you home with what turned out to be a killer,” he said before he bowed his head on a podium and wept. “So sorry.”

Letesia Stauch did not appear to react visibly as the verdict was read; she yawned, straightened her hair and drank water while the Gannon family talked. Before she was sentenced, she smiled and laughed as she spoke to her lawyers.

Judge Gregory Werner of the Fourth District Court said the case was “the most horrific” he had ever seen. He sentenced Stauch to the maximum possible sentences on each charge. He said Stauch had spun a “web of lies” after the killing in an attempt to avoid responsibility and that her claim of insanity did a disservice to people who are truly mentally ill.

“It’s just not credible,” he said. “You knew what you were doing. You have made a number of clear and conscious decisions to cover up or hide what you have done.

Gannon’s disappearance three years ago drew national attention in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Letesia Stauch reported the boy missing on January 27, 2020, saying he had gone to a friend’s house to play and never returned home, but almost immediately drew suspicion because he gave variable accounts to investigators.

For weeks, authorities coordinated a massive public search for Gannon, while investigators privately focused on Letesia Stauch as the prime suspect in the killing, testimony revealed during the month-long jury trial.

After killing Gannon, Letesia Stauch hid the boy’s body in a remote area along the El Paso/Douglas County border before moving the body into a suitcase and driving it in a rented pickup truck to Florida, where she threw the suitcase off a freeway overpass.

She was arrested and charged with murder on March 2, 2020, days before a construction crew discovered Gannon’s body on March 17, 2020.

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