COLORADO SPRINGS — A review of the state hospital's mental competency evaluation of the Colorado Springs woman accused of murdering her 11-year-old stepson has confirmed the state's findings that she is competent to stand trial, moving the case forward after months of delay.
Back in September, a review hearing for Letecia Stauch revealed her mental evaluation that was ordered in early June was completed and the state hospital found her competent to stand trial. Following that hearing, her lawyers lined up a second opinion to review the evaluation.
Court documents filed by the defense state the COVID-19 outbreak at the El Paso County Jail hindered how quickly this second evaluation could happen.
Now that it has been confirmed she is competent to stand trial, her next court appearances are scheduled for March 11 and 12 for preliminary hearings. Lead Prosecutor on the case and District Attorney Michael Allen said there will be family members traveling from all over the country who want to be present and in support of Gannon Stauch when the case is presented.
He said during these first hearings, they do not intend to present the entirety of the case, but they will present enough to satisfy probable cause requirements the court needs to make, as well as the proof evidence, presumption great. That means the burden is on the prosecution to show by testimony or real evidence there is no doubt the defendant is guilty.
"A case of this magnitude, I always expect that it's going to go to a jury trial. I think I said that very early on, and I still have that expectation. To prepare a case like this and not prepare as if we're going to trial, that's not the way we handle business in this office and that's not the way we're going to handle this case," Allen said. "We're working it hard, we're going to present the best case that we possibly can at every stage, and then let the community decide when we get to a jury decision."
He also said they have not engaged in any plea negotiations, nor does he anticipate there being any negotiations. "I'll just leave it at that," Allen said.
It has been nearly one year since Gannon Stauch was reported missing by Letecia Stauch when she told authorities he left to go visit a friend, according to prior information from the sheriff's office. Weeks later, a body found in Florida was identified as the boy. She was arrested on March 2 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as a result of thousands of hours spent in the investigation and searching for Gannon.
When the evaluation was ordered in June, prosecutors asked the judge to have the competency test be Tier 1 because of how much attention this case has with the judge agreeing with that statement. That meant it had to have been completed in 21 days, but it was not discussed why she has not been evaluated within that period.
Prosecutors announced they have not ruled out the possibility of pursuing the death penalty in this case. A bill passed in the Colorado General Assembly calls for the repeals of the state’s death penalty for any crimes charged by prosecutors on or after July 1, 2020.
Prosecutors not ruling out possible death penalty case against Letecia Stauch
State hospital finds Letecia Stauch competent to stand trial, review set for November
Court orders Letecia Stauch to take mental competency test
Judge will hear evidence against Letecia Stauch in June
Letecia Stauch files letter claiming mistreatment in jail
Friends, family honor the memory of Gannon Stauch in memorial service
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