COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado woman accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson and plotting to break out of jail must undergo a competency evaluation to determine her ability to stand trial, a judge ruled Friday.
District Judge Gregory Werner granted a defense motion for the evaluation, essentially halting further prosecution of Letecia Stauch, 36, until she is deemed mentally fit to face trial for the death of Gannon Stauch, The Colorado Springs Gazette reported.
During the hearing, prosecutors also filed a new charge of solicitation to commit escape.
Stauch is accused of telling a fellow inmate about her plans to use a broom handle to break the window in her cell at the El Paso County Jail, and that she had already measured herself to make sure she could fit through, according to a probable cause affidavit dated Monday.
Investigators said they found a note in Stauch’s cell with her daughter’s name on it telling her not to be afraid if media reports emerge that she is no longer in jail or is missing.
The fellow inmate told deputies about the plan and gave them notes from Stauch suggesting that she could pay her to help, according to the affidavit. At least one of the notes was partially written in code.
Stauch is being represented by the state public defender’s office, which does not comment on cases.
She reported Gannon missing Jan. 27, saying he never returned to his Colorado Springs home after leaving to go to a friend’s house.
After a search that lasted for weeks came up empty, investigators presumed the boy was dead and arrested the stepmother in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on March 2. Remains tentatively identified as Gannon’s were found in the small city of Pace, on the Florida Panhandle.
Investigators believe Stauch killed Gannon in his basement bedroom with a knife or other weapon a few hours before reporting him missing, then concocted a variety of stories to mislead them.
Evidence of blood was found in Gannon’s bedroom and Stauch’s SUV, according to an arrest affidavit.
The document doesn’t describe a motive, but investigators said that based on Stauch’s internet searches, it seems she was unhappily married and resentful of being treated as a babysitter for her stepchildren.