Referring to Gannon's murder, Letecia Stauch's half-brother testifies he 'knew she did it'

Before beginning his testimony, an emotional Dakota Lowery asked, “Why Tecia?!”
Posted at 11:51 PM, Apr 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-13 03:26:49-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Letecia Stauch's murder trial resumed Tuesday with emotional testimony from her half-brother, Dakota Lowery.

Before beginning his testimony, an emotional Lowery asked, “Why Tecia?!” He also recalled seeing a heavy, green suitcase when helping Letecia load a rental van days after Gannon Stauch disappeared, and later said, "I knew she did it."

Letecia is accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson in 2020 and dumping the body in a suitcase along the side of a road in Florida. She has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Lowery admitted he was angry at Letecia and did not want to testify in the case, but was issued a subpoena to appear as a witness.

During his testimony, Lowery said he flew to Colorado on January 30, 2020, to meet up with Letecia and her daughter, Harley.

“We felt like she was being wrongly accused for something we thought she’d never do… We also wanted to come out here and look for [Gannon],” Lowery told the court.

Lowery talked about staying at a hotel, renting a van, and then helping move items belonging to Letecia and Harley out of the Stauch home on January 31, 2020.

He said police officers were at the Stauch home, keeping a close eye on things being brought out of the home. He recalled being “just aggravated, because I feel like we was getting looked at as criminals… They were looking at the whole family.”

Lowery said they never ended up searching for Gannon when they were in Colorado Springs because they felt like they weren’t being treated fairly by the community and police.

On February 1, 2020, Lowery said he and Letecia rented another van, and transferred suitcases from the other van into the newly-rented van. He testified that he saw Letecia moving and carrying a green suitcase that looked heavy.

Lowery said when he saw the heavy suitcase, he "didn’t feel right about it.” He said he asked Letecia what was in the suitcase, and she said softball stuff.

A photo of the suitcase that Gannon’s body was found in was then shown to the court. A very emotional Lowery identified it as the suitcase Letecia was struggling with.

Lowery said he was ready to go home after that day, and that it was the last time he saw Letecia until Tuesday.

When prosecutors asked Lowery if Letecia knew right from wrong, Lowery said he thought she did and that she was too smart. Prosecutors also asked Lowery if Letecia had mental health issues or if she ever referred to herself by any other names, to which Lowery responded no.

During cross examination, the defense team asked Lowery about Letecia pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. He said, “When everything first happened and we found out about the body, and we found out where we was found, at that point, I knew she did it… and I thought she might've snapped and went crazy. But now, no.”

Following Lowery's testimony, various law enforcement members took the stand to discuss the investigation into Letecia after Gannon's disappearance. Jurors were presented data from GPS tracking devices, as well as surveillance video from rental car agencies.

Investigators testified that evidence of blood was found in the rental van.

Jurors also listened to two phone calls in which Letecia reported Gannon's disappearance to both emergency and non-emergency lines. Letecia was heard describing the situation, saying Gannon went a friend’s house and didn't come back.

When the dispatcher asked Leticia who was the last person to see Gannon, she responded, “Uh, I guess me?”

One dispatcher testified about Letecia's demeanor, saying, “Normally if we had a child of that age who hasn’t run away before, I would expect it to be scared, a little more, a little more anxiety.”

A sergeant with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office described how the investigation evolved throughout the days, saying it began as a missing person and runaway case. He said investigators then “started to get a lack of cooperation from Mrs. Stauch, who was the reporting party.”

The sergeant said investigators found blood evidence on the walls in Gannon’s bedroom, including on an electrical socket. Some evidence was visible, while other evidence was not easily visible to the human eye, the sergeant said.

The sergeant testified that the carpet under Gannon’s bed was "saturated," and that investigators saw a stain on the concrete when the carpet was pulled up. He also said it appeared that the blood had been cleaned up.

Using a blood-detecting chemical, the sergeant said investigators found iron/blood droplets in many areas of the home, including the garage floor, living room floor, laundry room, on a door handle, on steps leading to the downstairs area, the storage room floor, and the floor leading to Gannon’s room.

In Gannon’s bedroom, dozens of droplets were found on the walls, as well as the carpet where his bed was located and the concrete under the carpet, according to the sergeant.

On Wednesday, jurors are expected to hear Letecia's first interview with detectives after Gannon’s disappearance. The interview is about five hours long.