Letecia Stauch, Kansas mug.jpg

Letecia Stauch, 36. Photo via the Saline County Sheriff's Office. 

The stepmother of slain 11-year-old Gannon Stauch is competent for trial, a judge found Tuesday in ending a more than six-month pause in the case against her. 

The ruling by 4th Judicial District Judge Gregory Werner means that Letecia Stauch, 37, is again back on track for a trial. 

The judge scheduled a two-day preliminary hearing for March 11 and 12. That's where prosecutors will lay out the evidence against her. The judge must decide if there's enough evidence to support the charges against her, including first-degree murder.

The judge will also decide at the conclusion of the March hearing if Stauch will be eligible for bail. That determination depends on the strength of the evidence against her. If the judge decides she is likely to be convicted at trial, she would continue to be jailed without bail.  

Stauch appeared via videolink from the El Paso County jail.

Wearing a blue jail jumpsuit and a surgical-style facemask, she paced in a small room and frequently looked through a small window in the room's only door. She did not address the court. 

The case against her has been on hold since June, when Werner granted a defense request that she be evaluated for competency. 

Her first evaluation, in September, found she was competent. 

During Tuesday's hearing, Werner announced that a second evaluation by Dr. Jackie Grimmett, a psychologist retained by the defense, reached the same conclusion, leading the judge to find that she is competent.  

In Colorado, competency means that a defendant has a rational understanding of the case against them and can effectively assist in their defense.

The defense also relayed in court that Stauch has requested a "conflict hearing." Although no details were given, one veteran attorney said the meaning was clear.

"She wants a different attorney, for whatever reason," said Colorado Springs attorney Phil Dubois, who isn't affiliated with the case. Stauch is currently represented by two public defenders.

Conflict hearings are generally heard by a different judge, Dubois said. They are closed to the public and the prosecution because the discussion could involve privileged matters. Werner directed the defendant to make her request in writing. No hearing date was scheduled Tuesday. 

Stauch is accused of killing Gannon at their Lorson Ranch home before dumping his body in a rural area near Highway 105 and South Perry Park Road in Douglas County.

The grisly allegations came weeks after she reported the boy missing on Jan. 27, telling authorities that he failed to come home after visiting a friend. 

The search for Gannon turned up evidence indicating he was attacked with a knife or other weapon while lying in bed, authorities said, and Stauch, who had publicly denied involvement in the boy's disappearance, was arrested March 2 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.  

Gannon’s remains were ultimately found in mid-March in Santa Rosa County on the Florida panhandle, east of Pensacola. Authorities haven't said how the remains were transported from Douglas County to Florida.

Load comments