EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The mother of Gannon Stauch, the 11-year-old boy killed by his own stepmother in Colorado Springs, sat down with FOX31 for her first one-on-one interview hours after the verdict Monday.

“1,195 days we’ve waited. It’s a long time,” Landen Bullard said. “Nobody should carry that pain, period.”

Bullard has suffered the pain of losing her son at the hands of someone she trusted: her son’s stepmother.

“The sad thing: 18 stab wounds, blunt force to the head, a gunshot, all of that, and he still loved her, I believe, in his last breath, because that’s who he is,” Bullard said.

Gannon’s mother: ‘I know that he is happy’

The image of her 11-year-old boy’s murder in January 2020 has haunted Bullard for three years leading up to Monday’s verdict: guilty on all counts with a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole, plus additional years for additional charges.

“Sometimes you just wake up and you’re like, this never happened, and then just reality steps in,” Bullard said in an exclusive interview Monday night following the verdict. “But having the judgment today that she’s guilty can give me some better thoughts.”

Does Bullard think this verdict will end that cycle, that nightmare every day? Will it make it any easier?

“I think it’ll make it easier for sure. There’s never going to be a moment that goes by that I just wish he would walk through the door. I long for that. But just to know that today is the day, out of these three agonizing years, that my son has justice without a shadow of a doubt, that I know that he is happy. He is. I can see that smile. And that’s something that I haven’t been able to see. It’s like I see the pictures, but it just tears me up. I can see that smile today, and it gives me the relief for sure,” Bullard said.

Read FOX31’s coverage of the trial:

‘This community worked hard’ for justice

What would she want to say to the boy’s stepmother, Letecia Stauch, that she couldn’t utter in the courtroom on Monday?

“My human side comes out,” Bullard said. “I really — I would just ask for a ‘why’ over and over and over. And I don’t think I’d get the answer, though. So I have to leave today knowing, and I’m OK with it. I may never see her face again, but I’ll see my son smile, knowing confidently that this community worked hard, the DA worked hard to convict her, and I’m happy.”

When thinking of what she would say to Letecia Stauch, Bullard told FOX31 she reverted to what Gannon would want her to do. That’s something that she tells us happens a lot.

What would she would want the community to take away from Gannon’s story?

“Love, love, no matter what,” Bullard said. “Love took him out of this world. If we can have just a drop of love again and have this world change, you wouldn’t hear about some of the things we hear about on the news stations, what we hear in the story that we’re hearing today. If we just had that love — and that word is in caps, LOVE — like it’s like a simple thought.”