Attorneys for Letecia Stauch seeking to push back court, potentially allow for bond
Citing the COVID-19 outbreak, attorneys for Letecia Stauch have filed a pair of motions calling for her preliminary hearing to be pushed back, as well as possibly allowing the woman accused of killing her stepson to bond out of jail.
According to the docket, Stauch is scheduled to be in court on June 5 and again June 8 for the prelim. A motion made public Monday is calling for those dates to be postponed due to Stauch's alleged lack of access to her defense team.
A spokesperson with the sheriff's office could not directly address the case due to a gag order, but they told 11 News reporter Ashley Franco they would never prevent an inmate from seeing their attorney.
Stauch was arrested in South Carolina on March 2 for the murder of 11-year-old Gannon Stauch and was returned to Colorado three days later. Her first appearance in court on March 11 came the same week as the first death attributed to COVID-19 in the state. According to the motion, Stauch had been restricted to video visits with her attorneys since that first court appearance.
The motion claims the El Paso County jail stopped allowing video visitation for Stauch and other inmates with her security designation in early May. A spokesperson with the sheriff's office could not directly speak to the case due to a gag order but told 11 News reporter Ashley Franco that all inmates had access to video visitation, just not all at the same time. In a document provided to 11 News by the sheriff's office, the office confirms that video visits cannot be scheduled for inmates in certain wards during standard duty hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m.), but can be scheduled after normal hours.
In-person visits were always permitted for inmates during the pandemic, EPSO said.
"Pre-COVID, attorneys had the ability to meet with their clients in person at the jail, through a professional visit, through a contact visit if documents need to be passed through and reviewed, or they had the ability to do those visits online. Now, all of those options still remain today," said Jacqueline Kirby, a spokesperson with the sheriff's office.
The motion did acknowledge the option for attorneys to visit Stauch in person but claimed doing that was too dangerous due to how highly contagious the coronavirus is.
Kirby told 11 News Stauch could use her time out of her cell to see legal counsel if she wanted, and said that as of Monday there was no restriction to how long an inmate meets with their attorney via video after hours.
"... We have never barred attorneys from meeting with their clients. I want to make that very clear."
The defense also claimed their ability to work on their case had been hindered by the pandemic, including traveling to South Carolina, where Stauch was staying throughout the initial law enforcement investigation, and to Florida, where Gannon's body was eventually found.
"Counsel is not prepared to proceed to preliminary hearing because the pandemic has prevented the defense from adequately preparing for this hearing," the motion says.
A second motion filed concurrently called for an order granting attorneys video access to Stauch -- or to otherwise grant Stauch a bond "so that she is able to have video and phone access with counsel from the safety of her home."
To view these motions and all other documents related to the Stauch case,
Documents are listed oldest to most recent.