By: Ashley Portillo , Benjamin Lloyd
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KOAA) — On Friday, prosecutors in the murder trial of Letecia Stauch entered a video into evidence that allegedly showed an incident with the defendant as she was being transported to Colorado to face charges murder charges in the death of her stepson, Gannon.
Stauch was arrested in South Carolina prior to the discovery of her stepson’s body inside a suitcase dumped along a Florida road in 2020. Lead Detective Jessica Bethel testified on Friday that she had probable cause and obtained an arrest warrant for Stauch in early March and went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to make the arrest.
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office personnel transported Stauch back to Colorado to face charges. According to Bethel, the process was recorded due to previous behavior by the suspect.
Bethel described Stauch’s behavior, saying, “She was calm, she ate, she sang songs, she played trivia.” Bethel also said Letecia had conversations not related to the investigation, she ate and drank, and was able to use the restroom.
WATCH: Jury Views Police Interview With Letecia Stauch
Video presented to the jury showed an incident during the transport, where Letecia was visible manipulating her hands out of restraint and glancing over several times before taking a can of Monster Energy drink and hitting a member of law enforcement in the head with it. The vehicle’s driver then slams on the brakes before pulling over to the side of the highway.
As deputies work to restrain her, Letecia Stauch can be heard saying, “She keeps threatening me the whole time,” in reference to one of the people involved in the transport. Bethel is heard saying, “Cooperate with me.” To which Letecia replies, “I will with you, but not with her.” At that point, she was informed she would face another criminal charge.
Earlier, Bethel testified that Letecia was moving around before slipping out of her handcuffs, and glancing at the deputies’ waist areas where their guns were. The detective said it was a very dangerous situation because Letecia was already suspected of murder before assaulting a deputy who was armed and attempting to obtain her firearm.
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Stauch claimed that she was not trying to escape, but trying to open the door for “some air.”
As the defendant has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, the prosecution asked the detective about Stauch’s mental state. Bethel replied, “I believe she is sane, and she is manipulative and very calculated.”
During the defense counsel’s cross-examination, they asked Bethel about Stauch’s behavior during transport. “She seemed like she was calm and collected. Didn’t switch her personalities?”
Christian Liewer, a crime scene technician, took the stand on Friday and testified about photos he took of positive reactions of the blue star chemical which can detect blood. There were many positive reactions on the wall where Gannon’s bed was.
Liewer described a reddish/brown stain on the carpet where Gannon’s bed was. The stain went through the carpet, the padding, and down to the concrete.
Liewer also photographed a defect on the window sill next to Gannon’s bed. Liewer said based on the evidence, they began looking for what caused the bloodshed event, like a blunt force instrument or a firearm.
They found a firearm in the master bedroom of the Stauch home on a piece of furniture. It was a black Smith & Wesson handgun, which was taken and seized from the home. Jurors were shown the handgun.
Liewer testified about how they searched the home for cleaning materials and supplies, based on the evidence of blood they found. A bottle of vinegar was found on the washer/dryer, while other supplies were found under the kitchen sink.
The next witness was Stephanie Happ, the senior firearms examiner with the Colorado Springs Metro Crime Lab.
Happ examined and tested three firearms taken from the Stauch home and compared them to the three recovered bullets – two from the pillow and one from Gannon’s head when his body was found in a suitcase in Florida.
Happ said she was able to identify two of the bullets as having being fired from a Smith & Wesson pistol, which was one of the firearms she was asked to examine.
Under cross-examination, Happ was questioned about the pistol, specifically whether it favored a right-handed person or a left-handed person. She said if she was the shooter, the pistol would favor a right-handed person.
Happ also testified saying the shell casings of the pistol in question would fall to the right.
Happ said she did not evaluate how far away the shooter was. That was the end of her testimony. The next witness called was Brooke Bell, the senior crime scene investigator with the Colorado Springs Metro Crime Lab.
This story was originally published on April 14, 2023, by KOAA in Colorado Springs, an E.W. Scripps Company.