Audio version available: https://www.facebook.com/102475607821736/posts/226243072111655/?vh=e&d=n
I recently wrote a three part series about the Gannon Stauch case that was taking place in Colorado Springs, Colorado. You can view that series here: https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2020/02/20/persecution-part-1/
After part three was published, there were a few days where the case gave the impression of going really quiet. Before anyone knew it rapid developments began, and on Monday, March, 2nd Letecia Stauch was arrested in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. If you recall, Letecia is/was the stepmother of Gannon Stauch and, my last series was about her public persecution on social media. I want to be clear before I begin by saying I stand by everything I wrote and her arrest does not change that. She was extradited over the course of a few days back to Colorado, has been appointed a public defender, and is awaiting a series of hearings.
I’ve got to say; I really never thought a case would leave me as captivated as the Watts case again. I always seem to hone in on one particular story while simultaneously following several others in a smaller capacity. This is one of those stories were I soak up every single ounce of information surrounding the crime. The problem is, we have no real information which is so perplexing and baffling that the result of trying to deduce any logical information is very confusing. Drawing a reasonable conclusion is problematic at best.
There’s a lot to cover with this case and it’s difficult to pick & choose what to discuss. I am going to talk heavily about the legal side of the case because, I am seeing there are so many that are absolutely clueless as to how it all works. I am going to make a statement and then repeat it a second time. I want you to read it twice to let it sink in:
“False convictions BEGIN with being falsely arrested”
“False convictions BEGIN with being falsely arrested”
You cannot be falsely convicted of a crime in a court of law if you were never arrested & charged falsely to begin with. I am saying this because mainstream public opinion believes in order to be charged for a crime they MUST know or have the evidence that you did the crime. FALSE! Get that idea out of your head that someone being arrested means they are guilty and the state has what they need to prove it. Again, FALSE. Remember, employees that work for the state are also just people and they have their own opinions and beliefs. I hate to repeat myself, but sometimes it needs to be said several times for it to sink in. Repeat this to others and plant the idea for them to think about what they are typing!
Did everyone forget Casey Anthony?
She’s a free woman, and yet she was charged with:
-First degree murder (NOT guilty)
-Aggravated manslaughter (NOT guilty)
-Aggravated child abuse (NOT guilty)
-4 charges for lying to law enforcement (of which she was found guilty of)
The state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Casey killed her daughter Calee. There was no burden of proof! If you think she’s guilty that’s fine, but I honestly can’t blame the jury. They did their job and the state failed! They did not have what was needed to prove she killed her, let alone that it was premeditated murder in any way. This is why we have trials, so to assume a charge means the state has done their due diligence before an arrest is simply inaccurate. I mean we would just skip trials if arresting someone means they are guilty. Sounds ridiculous right? I can guarantee if you were ever falsely arrested for a crime you would be grateful for our system. I do believe Casey to be guilty but, I can’t ignore the conclusion, the jury did their job the way that is legally required.
Bringing the Watts case up for a moment. No matter what anyone believes happened on August 13, 2018 there’s one fact that no one can argue. People have been trying to argue all week about something, but they have failed – That is; there was absolutely NO concrete, irrefutable, direct, physical evidence showing Chris killed anyone, let alone three people. Despite that, he was charged with:
-3 counts of first degree murder
-2 counts of first degree murder of child under 12 by person of trust
-Unlawful termination of a pregnancy
-3 counts of tampering with a deceased human body
Bringing the grand total of 9 charges! That’s a multitude of charges to fight, and furthermore can be immensely discouraging. Did you know that prosecutors slap on as many charges as they can intentionally? It helps the state to have as many charges as possible so deals can be bargained. In Chris’s case they refused to accept anything other than ALL the charges. The state also used the death penalty as a bargaining tool, which in Colorado it is likely he would never have been put to death. He really did not get a “deal”. If you recall, I spoke about Chris having a previous offer that we have never seen. That offer was countered with nothing less than ALL nine charges and no death penalty, absolutely nothing less, not one teensy bit altered. I would bet the no death penalty part of that offer was not in the first offer but, was planned on being used exactly as we imagine it was. You have no idea how badly I want to see that original offer but, I know we never will. Anyway, the point being is that he was charged collectively with five counts of murder, but no evidence exists to show that he killed anyone. Wow. Isn’t it crazy how that worked?
We discussed in earlier blog posts that Chris succumbing to a plea deal before he even had a preliminary hearing is almost unheard of. There is an abundance of investigative work that is done between the arrest and a trial. Since Chris took a plea deal all the investigative work came to a screeching halt. There was nothing tangible prior to his arrest that pointed to him as the sole killer of his entire family but, he was still ARRESTED and CHARGED. Some would say, well he was arrested, because he confessed. He did confess that is true, but he did not confess to killing his children at the time he was charged for their murder. In the Watts case, it’s safe to say there was so much focus on the oil disposal aspect that, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Chris. Even Chris himself knew that and said so to his father during his first confession. He knew it and he was right! The manner in which the bodies were disposed of does not indicate with certainty that he was guilty of killing them all. We discussed disposing of bodies in depth in the “Never Say Never” series you can find it here: https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2020/01/07/never-say-never-part-1/
How does all of this connect to the Gannon Stauch case? Letecia Stauch, as I’ve said, has officially been arrested for his disappearance and what they “believe” is Gannon’s murder. Here are her charges, keep in mind she is in Colorado just like Chris Watts so, two of her charges are the same as his:
-First degree murder of a child under 12 by a person of trust
-Child abuse resulting in death
-Tampering with a deceased human body
-Tampering with physical evidence
The kicker is NO body has been found yet. That makes this case a bit challenging, because they stacked hefty charges on her without having Gannon’s body, which is a huge piece of evidence. Do you recall the Patrick Frazee case that was also in Colorado a year ago? That case was handled through the same prosecutor’s office and they had no body when charges were filed against him too. It used to be very hard to take a case to trial without a body but, as technology & forensics have evolved it has made that obstacle easier to pull off and convince a jury, depending on exactly what they do have of course.
Letecia’s charges do not mean the state has damning evidence of her guilt. It doesn’t work that way, but understand that people think whatever they have is solid evidence when it may necessarily not be the case. Probable cause is all that is needed to file an arrest warrant, which a judge signs off on if he/she agrees with it. For those who don’t know, probable cause is reasonable grounds. Law enforcement said they “believe” Gannon is deceased and most think they would not make such a powerful public statement without rock solid evidence proving that to be true however, statements like that have been declared by law enforcement agencies before, then later the person is found alive! Crazy! I know it’s also a rarity but it does not negate that it does happen. To tell his parents he is deceased if they don’t have concrete physical evidence would be careless. I would hope that they wouldn’t say that in this circumstance, especially given this case involves a child. Even if they have evidence showing Gannon is deceased it does not substantiate that Letecia is his killer. It will depend on what evidence law enforcement has gathered and how it proves their conclusion that he is dead and she is responsible, beyond a reasonable doubt. At the time of writing this her first appearance in court is today. There has been several requests put in from local media to get the arrest affidavit unsealed.
What is an arrest affidavit and what will will it show? There are many misconceptions about an affidavit. In summary, an arrest affidavit is paperwork from the arresting officer stating their observations &/or witness statements concerning the alleged criminal act. There will be some evidence contained in the document, certainly not all the evidence. There will be parts redacted if there is any information about minors, witnesses, or anything they want to keep from the public. Some affidavits are one page long and some are as long as twenty pages, it varies greatly. Letecia will have a series of hearings which will eventually include an arraignment (when she enters a plea) and also a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is in a way, a trial before a trial. During this hearing the evidence will be examined to see if it’s sufficient enough to make the defendant stand trial. Preliminary hearings are proof that an arrest & charge happened, it doesn’t mean the evidence is substantial. If it did, then preliminary hearings would not be needed to see if the evidence is sufficient enough to take the next step. Here is an example of an arrest affidavit; this was Chris Watts affidavit: https://mediaassets.thedenverchannel.com/document/2018/08/20/arrest%20affidavit%20chris%20watts_95256653_ver1.0.pdf
I would like to point out that Chris’s arrest affidavit was composed inaccurately. Once we saw his full confession, after the affidavit was released months later, it revealed that he had never said he observed Bella looking blue on the baby monitor. Chris also never said definitively that the girls had been strangled. In fact, upon viewing and hearing the videos, he said ‘smothered’ first, then ‘strangled’. Since that blatant inaccuracy occurred I am a bit skeptical of all affidavits. Here is Casey Anthony’s since I brought her up earlier: https://www.scribd.com/document/60115606/Casey-Anthony-Arrest-Report
Have you ever watched a murder trial, whether it was a trial being broadcast live or aired later as a documentary? Both the state prosecutors and the defense lawyers present witnesses and experts. Each presents evidence and calls their individual experts to the stand to explain what they feel the evidence shows. Right now the prosecution team in Leticia Stauch’s case may think the evidence they have collected proves her to be guilty, whilst the defense team will review the evidence and come to a completely different conclusion, stating it proves her innocent. Finding ways to paint a scenario of how they interpret the evidence is their job, to prove guilt or raise reasonable doubt. They will consult their own experts to refute the other side thoroughly to prepare for a trial defense, if the case makes it that far, approximately 5 to 7% of cases go to trial. Given the events that have happened since Gannon vanished, personally I don’t believe this is a case where this defendant (Letecia) will take a plea deal. That being said, of course I could be wrong.
Now I want you want to consider a thought I had while preparing this post. Law enforcement & the prosecutors office in this case want the public to believe they have enough evidence showing Letecia to be guilty. They even went out on a limb saying they “believe” Gannon is deceased. Keyword here is “believe”. Usually cases will make a statement like that in a more matter of fact way. In similar cases with no body it has been said outright, “Blood found in the home is in an amount resulting with the victim not being able to survive.” That’s a bit more blunt than saying we “believe”. For whatever reason, this case has law enforcement keeping every detail under wraps, which may be why they are being cryptic in their use of the word ‘believe’.
I would feel a bit differently about this case if we had even a sliver of information. Just a small piece of information would persuade me in their ability to prove her guilty. I’ve got to say that my evidence based mind can not reconcile what happened in this case. I have no opinion or theory which is a first for me. I know that right now, based on everything that has transpired, all of it can be explained away and I am able to raise reasonable doubt concerning most every aspect. If someone’s life is in my hands, and justice is needed for loved ones of the deceased, I would want it proven without a smidge of doubt that the defendant is guilty. I would want it proven that there is absolutely NO way that anyone else could have committed the murder. I have a soft spot for wrongful convictions, there’s something about a person losing most their life to the justice system that makes me feel gutted.
In this day & age it doesn’t make much sense that they would have enough evidence for the charges, but not enough to find him since he left the home. All the technology, her Apple Watch pings, cameras, surveillance, GPS, places she went, etc., and yet NO Gannon. Things that make you go hmmm sometimes, I tell you! If they are hoping to locate him with her help now that she’s in custody, I would say they jumped the gun. After prosecuting Patrick Frazee through the same office, and sealing a conviction, I hope they did not become too confident thinking they can do it easily again. Cocky, if you know what I mean. Here is why I hope they didn’t jump the gun or caved under pressure from the public . . .
Everything about a trial is PROVING beyond reasonable doubt that a defendant did or did not commit a crime. From point A to point B needs to be shown, demonstrated, explained, and backed up. If the crime originated in the home it is reasonable to assume Letecia may be involved. The problem is we have seen in a neighbor’s video footage that it appears Gannon left alive on Monday, before he vanished. In a courtroom it will be presented as ”okay the home is where we believe the crime took place” and jurors will expect for the state to explain in detail what happened next. The jury would be thinking “okay, but there’s footage of him leaving the home”. Juror’s should then expect or demand to see &/or hear what happened after that. If they don’t know what happened next, that’s a major issue which would raise significant doubt. Given that they don’t know where his body is, as of yet, after six weeks implies to me they may not know what happened next. If they had any idea what happened next they should have a very good idea of where he is, and would be doing active searches. Letecia was arrested Monday. It has now been over a week and it appears that there is not a single search being conducted, at least not any that the public is aware of. I’ve got to say, I am not very confident they have secured enough evidence to prove in a trial what has happened to Gannon Stauch, at least not thus far. They may though and hopefully we will know soon if the affidavit gets unsealed today.
Review what I said again! They want us to believe they have enough evidence to prove a murder took place, and that Letecia committed that murder. They don’t have enough though to find him. No body murder cases do exist, and the reasons for no body found can vary. That’s not what concerns me! What concerns me is that if they knew what happened after Gannon appears to leave alive they should know, or have a general idea, of where he is. Why is there not a public call for experienced people in searches to help find this boy? Are they waiting for more evidence to pinpoint his location? Are they hoping her arrest and time in solitude will get her to cave and tell them? Do they not believe they’ll be able to find him?
Even if the crime began in the home it didn’t end there. You can have what you believe to be a crime scene, but in this instance that wouldn’t be the only crime scene. In a court room, I would expect to see a prosecutor connect all the crime scenes to paint a picture of what happened to Gannon.
Recently, we briefly spoke of the Fotis Dulos case who was charged with his estranged wife’s murder and no body had been found. The evidence in his case implied the murder took place in the home, and her body transported elsewhere. Gannon, no matter if hurt or drugged, appeared to leave the home ALIVE on Monday. That’s a huge difference when laying out the crime from beginning to end.
Here are different types of evidence:
Demonstrative- photographs, videos, sound recordings, x-rays, maps, drawings, graphs, charts, and things of the sort.
Digital- electronic source, such as emails, hard drives, word processing documents, instant message logs, ATM transactions, cell phone logs, social media, online shopping, etc.
Documentary- similar to demonstrative, but in writing. Contracts, wills, invoices, etc.
Exculpatory- evidence that favors the defendant that either partially or fully removes their guilt.
Physical- This would be things like fingerprints, DNA, blood found, murder weapon, footprints at scene of crime. Anything that is whole or part of an object that may connect the object to a suspect or defendant.
Prima Facie- Evidence sufficient enough to establish a claim or defense until rebutted by contrary evidence. In Latin the term means, “on its first appearance”.
Scientific- In general, scientific evidence is based off of knowledge that has been developed by using a scientific method. This means that the basis for the evidence has been hypothesized, tested, and is generally accepted within the scientific community.
Testimony- spoken evidence under oath, at a deposition, written evidence under oath through an affidavit, etc.
I went over types of evidence for a reason of course. During a trial not all evidence will be presented, some evidence will not be admissible, and other evidence can be withheld if it’s nothing of substance.
We can only guess what evidence they may have now concerning Leticia, until we get access to the information in the affidavit. We may get more at a preliminary hearing but ultimately to know most of what has been collected will be when a trial unfolds, if it does. Let’s play with a few scenarios involving potential evidence they may have.
Let’s say the evidence law enforcement found is blood inside the Stauch family home only. We’ll continue to imagine the blood evidence is a decent amount and based on the states forensic team expertise they deemed Gannon could not have survived. Sounds pretty damning doesn’t it? It’s not. Most would say, well Letecia was in the home so that means she killed him. Nope. It’s not that simple, and I know most the public wishes it were. Her defense could imply that Letecia was not the only person in the home that weekend. They could even say that Gannon hurt himself accidentally and it wasn’t at the hands of anyone else in the home. The home had people continue to live in it for over a week after Gannon vanished as well. The defense could claim it was a set up or could claim that the individuals that stayed in the home tainted the crime scene to raise doubt.
Depending on the amount of blood found, if splatter, smears, droplets or a combination of any, and where it was found and what the defense’s experts say, they could even attempt to claim the blood was not from a single event. Sounds far fetched but you would be surprised how the evidence can be picked apart, explained away, or chalked up to something else entirely.
Let’s say the prosecution believes the crime happened within the home based on finding any sort of evidence inside. That is not necessarily enough to convince because, as I’ve said before, Gannon does appear to leave ALIVE. To say the crime scene was in the home and deem him deceased based off that would mean he died there. Again, we know that cannot be the case because we see Gannon in the neighbor’s footage leaving Monday. Whether he was drugged or badly hurt is up for debate; regardless he does appear to be alive leaving which shows the house could not be the sole crime scene. There has to be multiple crime scenes, it would definitely be two location. One would be the home, and then the location of his body. It could also be three crime scenes which could be the home, the truck (if evidence was found), then the location of his body. Perhaps even more, its possible other evidence was scattered elsewhere, anywhere. No matter how many crime scenes it needs to be laid out in a series of events and presented as to how it started in one place and ended another.
Letecia mentioned in an interview with Crimeonline, something about law enforcement finding a bloody 2 x 4 and a bloody sock outside the home. We do not know if that’s true yet but, since possible, let’s discuss that. If a bloody board & sock with Gannon’s blood were located outside the home and it also contained her DNA that can be explained. Our DNA is on most items in our home, so finding these items with her DNA on it does not necessarily mean she committed a crime involving the items. They would need to prove the board came from the Stauch family home.
There has been speculation that Letecia’s minor daughter, or her own mother, turned her in. That is possible, but let’s discuss that. If they did and gave details to the crime their testimony needs a form of evidence to support it. Anyone can go to police and say, “My mom stabbed _____ with a butcher knife and threw the body off a bridge.” That can be entirely inaccurate, especially if the cause of death didn’t involved being stabbed. In this case, they do not have Gannon’s body, and his body is a crucial piece of evidence, which could tell a great deal of the story. It could also show nothing at all, which was the issue in the Casey Anthony trial. Anyway, they take what a key witness says and they will check to validate it. Without a body this would mean trying to find the butcher knife to back the stabbing claim. I am not saying a knife was involved in this story but using it as an example.
In the Patrick Frazee case we discussed briefly the prosecution had a key witness who was, Krystle Lee Kenny. Once she spoke to police about her own involvement in the disappearance of Kelsey Berreth the police took her on a road trip. They had her take them to the crimes scenes and explain what happened as she had recalled it while she pointed out locations & evidence. They went to work inspecting these locations and using forensics to back up her story and prove her a credible key witness for the state.
It’s one thing for the public to think Letecia is guilty but, thank goodness our system is not one based off of public opinion. I cannot even fathom if that were the case after witnessing public persecutions. Social media has its pluses and minuses like anything else in life. It’s a great tool for when someone goes missing to spread the word to as many people as possible and instrumental in retrieving more tips into any given department. On the flip side it can be a hinderance, as we have seen how the public will call in theories, opinions, and hunches as tips which waste crucial time. There have always been challenges in jury selection but with social media this has now made it more complex. Before, the only way for anyone to know about a case was a newspaper, and then television broadcast came onto the scene. Unless you tuned into the news, or read the newspaper, one hardly ever heard about these cases. The majority of people do some form of social media and it’s used by all ages. You would be surprised how many don’t hear of cases that we may believe to be widely known. It does happen, because some people don’t watch the news or may not have social media, or simply aren’t interested. Some may have social media and watch the news, but don’t pay much mind beyond a one minute segment on the news. Jury selection isn’t so much about people having heard about a case but more to do with the ability to stay unbiased during the trial.
The ability to remain unbiased has been tainted by social media and these public persecutions play into that. Gang mentality if you will, and you see one person’s comment that can sway your opinion. A juror in the future may feel a lot of pressure knowing that the public already deemed the defendant guilty. That pressure could prevent the juror to review the evidence & arguments rationally. The emotions involved in these cases are over the top, to the point that people seem more hurt or angry than those involved. I mean, total strangers going out to tattoo their bodies with the name of a child they never knew is frankly creepy.
These types of people are not ones you would want to see on any jury for any case.
Furthermore, these public persecutions have a domino effect, here is how:
Story gains traction.
Immediately the public questions someone’s involvement based solely off behavior.
Story is now national news and the witch-hunt increases at an alarming rate.
The story becomes so widely known that even inmates in the local jail have now heard about it.
The suspect whom people believe is guilty already, despite not seeing any evidence, is arrested.
Suspect ends up in the county jail with the inmates who know about the case and what the publics opinion is of said suspect.
Suspect is segregated or placed in solitary due to the high profile nature of the case, and for their own safety.
Suspect hears of death threats against them, hasn’t had any contact with anyone but guards & lawyers, and in a cell 23 hours out of the day. We have spoken in prior blog posts about the affects of solitary confinement, it’s terrible, even inhumane according to studies (which I have sourced before in other blog posts).
Suspect becomes incredibly vulnerable and completely broken. They lose hope and become desperate to end it all, whether via suicide or succumbing to a plea deal. The mountain to climb seems too much to bare.
Sounds great to most people who believe that suspect is guilty, before seeing any evidence, or it being proven. Not everyone in these high profile cases are in fact guilty though, so what about the innocent ones who have to endure this? I understand that when someone is murdered the public wants someone, literally anyone to pay for it. It is a valid reaction to the heinous act of murder. We need to be more cautious, so we are not turning innocent people into guilty ones.
Not saying that’s the case with Letecia Stauch; and all the evidence may prove with certainty she could have been the only one to end Gannon’s life.
Some of the most horrific things have been said across the platforms, even such as wishing for Letecia’s own murder to happen, without proof of her guilt. If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what would.
Never say never…
Speak of these cases the way you would want people to discuss it if it were you as the suspect or defendant. Don’t say you would never be in a situation such as this, because no one can be certain of that. Such carelessness in discussions could be a contributing factor to the demise of innocent people.
Once the hearing takes place today I will start part two to discuss what happened. If the affidavit is unsealed and released to the public I will include that in my analysis.
Until next time, stay objective, logical, reasonable, and most importantly rational. The following immature pictures were made by a bunch of people who are supposed to be adults, all within a day of her arrest. A child is likely dead, did everyone forget that?