A woman has been found guilty of killing her 11-year-old stepson and dumping his body over a bridge in Florida, and has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the crime.
A judge in Denver, Colorado sentenced Letecia Stauch for the killing of her stepson Gannon Stauch on Monday. While sentencing Stauch, the court said her claim that she was insane and that one of her other personalities killed her stepson was a disservice to those who are mentally ill, reported the Associated Press.
She was earlier convicted of first-degree murder after deliberation, first-degree murder of a child by a person in a position of trust, tampering with a deceased human body and tampering with physical evidence.
According to Judge Gregory Werner, unlike other defendants with mental health issues, Stauch was never surprised by what her alleged other personality did.
Instead, she took conscious steps to cover up her actions, the judge said.
He said Stauch was also motivated by “hatred and jealousy” of her stepson Gannon’s mother, Landen Bullard.
He said she was resentful of being left to take care of the boy and his younger sister.
Earlier, authorities alleged Stauch killed her stepson by stabbing and shooting him in his bedroom a few hours before reporting him missing on 27 January 2020, while his father Al was on a National Guard deployment.
Prosecutors claimed she killed the boy because she hated him and wanted to hurt his father whom she planned to leave.
Gannon’s body was found in a suitcase below a bridge on the Florida Pandhandle during an inspection done twice a year.
Prosecutors said she put the boy’s body in a suitcase and drove over 1,300 miles with it in a rented van.
“There is no time during the minutes, hours and days following the murder where Letecia came out and wondered ‘Gee, why am I carrying a body around in my luggage?’ That just isn’t credible,” the judge said.
Authorities believe she had reported him missing saying he had not come home from playing with friends.
Dozens of volunteers helped search for the boy, but later investigators revealed Stauch concocted a variety of stories to mislead them.
Her stories included claims that a man she hired to repair a carpet raped her and then abducted Gannon.
Later, when Mr Stauch became suspicious of his wife, he allowed FBI agents to listen to audio calls with her. The calls, along with video recordings of interviews with Stauch about her mental health, were a prominent part of the evidence offered during the five-week trial.
Additional reporting by agencies
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