FARMINGTON — A judge set a felony arraignment hearing for the man charged with the murder of 4-year-old Ethan Stacy.
Nathan Sloop, 33, carrying a large, clear, plastic bag filled with legal documents, appeared Tuesday before Judge Glen Dawson, who set May 22 for the hearing. At that time, Sloop is expected to enter either a plea of not guilty or guilty to the charges stemming from the boy’s death on May 9, 2010.
Sloop, and his wife, Stephanie Sloop, 29, both of Layton, 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.
Both are being held in Davis County Jail on no bail.
The charges stem from the death of Ethan, Stephanie Sloop’s son, in 2010.
The aggravated murder charge could mean the death penalty for both Sloops, if they are convicted. Prosecutors have 60 days after a felony arraignment hearing to file their intent to seek the death penalty.
Defense attorney Richard Mauro said in court Tuesday that Nathan Sloop is conditionally waiving the preliminary hearing. A five-day preliminary hearing had been scheduled to take place this week, but was changed to just one day.
Mauro said he and Sloop are continuing to review the evidence and, if necessary, may ask to have another preliminary hearing.
Mary C. Corporon, the attorney for Stephanie Sloop, also appeared in court. Corporon said she does not want a court hearing date set until after Nathan Sloop’s felony arraignment hearing has taken place.
Corporon said that after Nathan Sloop’s felony arraignment hearing occurs, “I think things will begin to move forward.”
After the hearing, Mauro said he could not discuss evidence he is reviewing.
Also, “no plea agreements have been made, but we’re always discussing pleas in these type of cases,” Mauro said.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said he did not view the conditional waiver as a delay tactic.
“The defense has to do what they do,” Rawlings said. “They have to review the evidence, assess the evidence and challenge the evidence, if necessary.”
Rawlings said he has talked with Joe Stacy, Ethan’s father, and other family members about the progress of the case.
“They know what is happening and understand why,” Rawlings said.
The Sloops reported Ethan missing from their Layton apartment May 10, 2010. Investigators found the young boy’s disfigured body buried near Powder Mountain several hours later. Ethan had come to Utah from Florida on May 1, 2010, to spend the summer with his mother, Stephanie Sloop.