FARMINGTON — Evidentiary hearings for Nathanael and Stephanie Sloop, who are accused of murdering 4-year-old Ethan Stacy, have been continued until November.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors met with Judge Glen C. Dawson in his chambers for about 90 minutes Wednesday morning.
Nathanael Sloop, 32, appeared in 2nd District Court for a brief hearing. Stephanie Sloop, 29, did not appear, but her attorney, Mary Corporon, was in court. Stephanie Sloop was scheduled for a hearing on Friday, which also will not take place.
The Sloops, who are being held in the Davis County Jail on no bail, are each charged with aggravated murder, second-degree felony child abuse, second-degree felony obstruction of justice and third-degree felony abuse or desecration of a body in the death of Ethan Stacy, Stephanie Sloop’s son.
The evidentiary hearings will be part of the preliminary hearings set in November. Nathanael Sloop’s preliminary hearing is set to run from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4. Stephanie Sloop’s preliminary hearing is set to run from Nov. 15 through Nov. 17.
Ethan died May 9, 2010, and investigators found his body buried near Powder Mountain on May 11, 2010.
Both Nathanael Sloop and Stephanie Sloop could face the death penalty if each is convicted of the aggravated murder charge. Prosecutors have 60 days after the Sloops enter a plea at a felony arraignment hearing to file their intention to seek the death penalty. A felony arraignment hearing is scheduled after a preliminary hearing is concluded.
The evidentiary hearings that were set for this week would have heard testimony about evidence including documents seized from Nathanael Sloop’s jail cell, attorneys said at a previous hearing.
Attorneys on Wednesday declined to discuss what evidence would have been presented during this week’s hearings.
“We are not going to comment on the evidence,” said Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings after the hearing on Wednesday.
Rawlings said neither side has “given up on the legal issues.”
In court, Nathanael Sloop’s attorney, Scott C. Williams, said after discussing the legal issues with the judge and the prosecution that it would be better for both sides if the evidentiary hearing is held at the same time as the preliminary hearing.
“This is just a routine example of a hearing being scheduled that was thought necessary and then it was decided it was not,” Williams said after the hearing.
Rawlings said judges typically hear motions concerning evidence during preliminary hearings, not before.
Rawlings said holding the hearings together, “makes an awful lot of sense,” because it speeds up the case and “avoids or eliminates appeals.”
Rawlings said if either side decides to appeal an issue it can be done in one appeal instead of multiple appeals, which could delay the case.