Testimony continued Tuesday in the Letecia Stauch murder trial; she stands accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson, Gannon Stauch.
Dr. Dorothy Lewis, who conducted a sanity report on Stauch, took the stand Tuesday afternoon and said she thinks Stauch has dissociative identity disorder (DID), which may have played into her murdering her stepson, Gannon Stauch.
As CrimeOnline reported, prosecutors say Stauch stabbed, shot, and beat Gannon inside the family’s El Paso County home in Colorado, on January 27, 2020. Months later, his body was found stuffed into a suitcase beneath a bridge in Pace, Florida.
Stauch is now on trial at the El Paso County Court, facing first-degree murder and related charges. She pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Lewis, a Harvard and Yale graduate and the author of “Guilty by Reason of Insanity,” said she interviewed Stauch in November 2022 through 14 recorded calls with Stauch’s defense attorney present.
“I want them [the lawyer] to see what I see. I don’t want it to be my description of what happened because my way of seeing it may not be your way of seeing it,” Lewis explained when asked why Stauch’s lawyer was present during the interviews.”
Lewis said she also reviewed all prior evaluations on Stauch, including jail records and other interviews done by forensic psychologists.
Following her own interviews, Lewis noted that Stauch would turn into someone named “Maria” and other personas, and didn’t know what happened to Gannon, which led to Stauch telling multiple different versions of events.
“The one that I remember particularly is she referred to somebody named Maria, and Maria apparently was a physically abusive entity, and when I heard her speak, she was harsh and angry and hurtful,” Lewis said.
“In fact, it made me wonder when I first saw that, have I just met the aspect of her personality that killed Gannon? I don’t know. At the time, she’s the one that’s most closely alive with violence.”
Lewis added that Stauch may have taken on other personas as a defense mechanism while growing up in an abusive household, where her stepfather allegedly sexually abused her.
“When young children are subjected to ongoing physical or sexual abuse, where it’s intolerable, where you can’t cope with it anymore, the mind seems to self-hypnotize. It is as if it were not happening to you. It’s happening to someone else,” Lewis told the court, explaining DID.
“It’s very common for that other aspect of that person to take on the characteristics of the abuser. This may be why it’s so astonishing.”
Other expert witnesses concluded, however, that Stauch had a personality disorder, but that didn’t include DID.
Last week, Dr. Loandra Torres, with the Office of Civil and Forensic Mental Health for the State of Colorado (OCFMH), testified for the prosecution that although she didn’t find Stauch to have DID, although she did diagnose her with borderline personality disorder with narcissistic features.
Letecia Stauch is facing charges of:
- Murder in the First Degree (Child Under Twelve-Position of Trust §18-3-102(1)(f))
- Tampering with a Deceased Human Body, §18-8-610.5
- Tampering with Physical Evidence, §18-8-610(1)(a)
The trial continues. Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Gannon Stauch via Landen Hiott]