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Attorneys change Letecia Stauch’s plea to ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Attorneys for Letecia Stauch, the woman accused of first-degree murder in the death of her 11-year-old stepson, filed a motion to change Stauch's plea to "not guilty by reason of insanity."

Stauch is facing a first-degree murder charge in addition to tampering with evidence and other charges -- prosecutors allege that she killed her stepson, Gannon Stauch, in January 2020. Gannon's body was found in a suitcase weeks later underneath a highway bridge in Florida. His autopsy report stated he had been shot and stabbed, and he had a skull fracture.

(RELATED: Affidavit reveals timeline of Gannon Stauch's alleged murder)

During a hearing on Friday, Stauch's attorney Josh Tolini said he has an out-of-state expert who has agreed to perform an evaluation on Stauch, and that expert said there is a "high likelihood of psychosis."

Since Stauch's arrest, she has exhibited erratic behaviors like attempting to escape from custody, and attempting to represent herself in her trial. She has claimed mental health issues since at least February 2021, when she wrote a letter to Judge Gregory Werner saying she believed her legal team at the time was "in cahoots" with prosecutors.

The court accepted the motion to change Stauch's plea to "not guilty by reason of insanity" after a brief discussion during Friday's hearing.

Stauch will be given an evaluation at the Colorado Mental Health Institute by a state doctor to determine if she was sane at the time of the alleged killing. If the state doctor finds her insane, prosecutors can decide to have her committed rather than stand trial, or she will stand trial and use insanity as a defense. If she's found sane, Stauch's defense attorneys will use their out-of-state expert to determine sanity; if that's the case, prosecutors will again decide to go to trial with the insanity defense or have her committed.

If both doctors find Stauch sane at the time of Gannon's death, the trial will move forward with her original "not guilty" plea restored.

The new development will delay Stauch's trial by several months.

Stauch has been held in custody without bond since her arrest in early 2020.

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