By: Ashley Portillo, Aidan Hulting
EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KOAA) — The murder trial of Letecia Stauch, the Colorado woman accused of murdering her stepson in 2020, continued Friday with sanity evaluations from mental health professionals that have interviewed Stauch over the course of this case.
The trial was delayed in resuming Friday, as Judge Gregory Werner said Letecia was feeling sick. “If it feels like you’re going to throw up or something like that, you need to let your attorneys know,” said Judge Werner to Letecia and the defense team.
Witness testimony resumed Friday with Dr. Loandra Torres, a forensic psychologist. She conducted a competency evaluation and sanity evaluation on Letecia Stauch.
“At this part of the evaluation, what we’re trying to do is get out the defendant’s story, their perception of everything that happened to them, what they were thinking or feeling, and what actions they took. This is important for evaluations of insanity,” began Dr. Torres.
READ MORE: CO v. Letecia Stauch: Daily Trial Updates
The jury viewed a portion of the forensic interview between Stauch and Torres, which was more than an hour long.
A forensic psychologist interviewing Stauch asked her, “Talk to us about what happened on the day of the event. There may be things leading up to it.” To which Stauch replied, “Where do you want me to start at?” The forensic psychologist replied, “Where do you think it begins?”
In the interview, Letecia Stauch described an accidental shooting when she shot someone who was wearing a cape, whom she later learned was Gannon. Letecia said, “I would never purposely hurt Gannon… I never knew once that it was Gannon.”
She said the noise woke Laina, Gannon’s younger sister. Stauch mentioned a report where Laina, “She said on there, Gannon’s body was not moving… she helped me carry Gannon’s body to the car.”
Stauch said, “I didn’t even know it was Gannon at that time until I moved the cover.” She said Gannon was barely talking but was still alive. Stauch said she was in complete and utter shock and began throwing up.
Stauch said when she “woke back up,” she heard a howling noise. She said she went to the garage and heard a noise. “That must have been when Gannon took his last breath,” she said.
Stauch said Laina was asking what was going on. Stauch also said Laina and Harley had expressions like they had just seen a ghost. Stauch said she couldn’t believe what just happened. “I never would have purposely hurt Gannon,” Stauch said.
“To know that he was speaking to me and Laina as we were trying to take him up the stairwell…. I started going into different personalities of what’s going on… We have to find him,” said Stauch.
WATCH: Judge Threatens to Remove Letecia Stauch From Courtroom
Stauch said her mind was in a protective mode because she thought someone was in the house and trying to hurt them. She said her personality named ‘Maria’ thought it was her stepdad. “I gain absolutely nothing out of hurting a child,” said Stauch.
“They painted me as this monster,” said Letecia Stauch during her insanity evaluation. Stauch said she believed she was not okay and was going crazy. She said she had never been through hallucinations, but she believes she was in a psychosis and was going to wake up eventually.
Stauch at one point believed she could bring Gannon back from the dead. “I told my mom I completely lost it… They told me, ‘You had lost it, you can’t bring somebody back from the dead… You are crazy, and you need to go to a hospital,'” said Stauch to the psychologist.
Dr. Leondra Torres resumed the witness stand. Prosecutors asked about Letecia Stauch reviewing Gannon’s autopsy. “I believe she said she had obsessed over it,” said Dr. Torres during her testimony.
Dr. Torres testified saying, “There were concerns about Mrs. Stauch’s credibility.”
During the forensic interview, Stauch said Gannon wasn’t killed on the afternoon of January 27. Instead, she said Gannon was killed after midnight that night, which was the 28th.
Dr. Torres talked about Stauch’s comments of seeing someone in the home who was wearing a cape, and her personality ‘Maria’ shooting them.
“It seems as though that’s what she’s trying to imply because she talks about going into protection mode. Oftentimes she references ‘Maria’ as the protector,” said Dr. Torres who testified about Stauch claiming she switched personalities when the crime was committed.
Dr. Torres said if Stauch had dissociative identity disorder, she believes Stauch would have had a lack of understanding, awareness, and memory of that point in time, and would have expected her to report more loss of memory and not the small details.
Dr. Torres also said she reviewed the interview with Laina, Gannon’s younger sister. Dr. Torres said Laina did not mention being present or helping carry a body upstairs. At one point during the forensic interview, Stauch said about Laina, “it was very traumatic for her too.”
During the forensic interview, Stauch also alluded to how she wanted to take Gannon’s body from one place to another, so someone could bring him back to life.
Dr. Torres testified saying when Stauch reviewed Gannon’s autopsy, Stauch said they were not stab wounds on Gannon’s body, and instead, they were burns.
MORE: Jury Views Letecia Stauch Forensic Interview
During a forensic interview from June 29, 2022, Stauch said, “When I’m in Maria mode, I have power, unbelievable power, special powers you could say.” Stauch said Maria moved Gannon’s body to the car to try to go to the hospital.
In the interview, Stauch also said Maria can speak Spanish and Russian. When asked how Maria knows these languages, Stauch said she doesn’t know.
The prosecution said Stauch’s passport is in evidence right now, and there’s no indication that Stauch was in Canada. In previous testimony, Stauch indicated to witnesses that she had psychiatric in-patient treatment in Canada.
Dr. Torres said typically people with dissociative identity disorder experience problems with their functioning and do need some sort of psychiatric treatment. Dr. Torres said it’s not something that can be controlled and people tend to be ashamed to talk about their experience.
Dr. Torres said many people with dissociative identity disorder also tend to withhold information or don’t want people to know they have an illness.
“One of the most striking components to me is she doesn’t seem to be disturbed by having all of these personalities… that’s meaningful to me,” said Dr. Torres, who said she wasn’t convinced that Stauch had dissociative identity disorder.
Dr. Torres said Stauch’s symptoms of her claiming she had dissociative identity disorder, “seemed to increase over the course of the two years, from the time of the offense, to the first time we saw her, and to the time she was seen by Dr. Lewis in November 2022.”
Dr. Torres said during their sanity evaluation, they diagnosed Stauch with a personality with traits of borderline and narcissistic personalities.
Dr. Torres added, there wasn’t sufficient information to say with confidence that Stauch had dissociative identity disorder at the time of the alleged offense.
Dr. Torres testified saying after Stauch shot the person in the cape, she dissociates, and it’s her personalities that help cover up what it is that happened. “There is no particular mental illness that is impacting Mrs. Stauch’s ability to know what is right or what is wrong.”
The prosecution asked Dr. Torres, “What is your final opinion in regards to Stauch’s sanity?” Torres responded, “It was that Mrs. Stauch was sane at the time of the crime.”
During cross-examination, Josh Tolini who is one of Letecia Stauch’s lawyers, asked Dr. Torres about implicit bias at the state hospital. Dr. Torres said “I don’t think there is an implicit bias in the way that you’re describing it here.”
Letecia Stauch’s attorneys today said they’re calling their two witnesses to testify on Monday. Therefore jurors could reach a verdict in the trial sometime next week.
This story was originally published on April 28, 2023, by KOAA in Colorado Springs, an E.W. Scripps Company.