FARMINGTON -- Nathanael Warren Sloop pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges he murdered 4-year-old Ethan Stacy.
Sloop, 33, appeared before 2nd District Judge Glen C. Dawson. Eight deputies provided security in the courtroom.
Sloop and his wife, Stephanie Sloop, the boy's mother, are 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 boy's death.
Ethan's disfigured body was found May 11, 2010, near Powder Mountain the day after Layton police received a report the boy had disappeared from the Sloop's apartment. Ethan had come to Utah on May 1 from Florida to spend the summer with his mother.
The Sloops are accused of abusing Ethan for days in their Layton apartment before he died on May 9, 2010.
Stephanie Sloop did not appear in court on Tuesday. She has a hearing set for July 31.
A five-day preliminary hearing that had been scheduled for Nathanael Sloop has been canceled. Sloop waived his right to a preliminary hearing and also to a speedy trial.
Both Sloops are being held in Davis County Jail without bail.
When asked in court if he had an address away from jail, Sloop said, "I don't have an address any longer, your honor."
He then entered the not guilty pleas to the charges.
A pretrial conference hearing is set for Oct. 9.
After the hearing, Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said, "The case is now moving forward and we're going to the next stage, which is the pretrial conference hearing."
Both sides are going through "volumes of evidence," and there is "still quite a lot of work to do before this is set for trial."
Rawlings said both sides want to have all the legal and evidentiary issues taken care of before the case goes to trial, so it can withstand any appeals.
Rawlings declined to say if his office will seek the death penalty, but did say his office is "preparing the best case we have so we can go forward."
He did say that no plea deal is in the works for either side, although Sloop's attorneys have met often with the prosecutors to discuss the case.
Two local women who have been at almost every hearing in support of Ethan and his family said they hope the death penalty stays on the table.
Anissa Martinez and Lucinda Martin said they are both glad the case is finally moving forward.
"It's progress," Martin said, "but I hated hearing (Sloop) say 'not guilty.' "
Martinez said, "We pretty much knew (Sloop) would enter not guilty pleas, but it seems like it's delay after delay. I'd like to see the death penalty stay on the table, because monsters like that should never be let out. Some people say, 'Let God be the judge.' Well, let's let God be the judge now."