FARMINGTON -- The assault of a deputy was serious enough that it warranted a second-degree felony, a prosecutor said.
"We think it's pretty serious and that is why we charged it to a second-degree felony," said Deputy Davis County Attorney Steve Major. "Normally it's a third-degree felony."
Major talked to the media after a court hearing for Nathanael Warren Sloop, 35, who is charged with aggravated assault by a prisoner. He is accused of punching, gouging and biting a sheriff's deputy at the Davis County Jail on Nov. 21.
He is also facing charges in connection with the death of his 4-year-old stepson, Ethan Stacy. The boy's body was found near Powder Mountain on May 10, 2010.
Sloop appeared Friday before Judge Michael Allphin, dressed in a red jump suit.
Richard Mauro, who was appointed as Sloop's attorney for the murder case, has also been appointed to represent him in the assault case.
Mauro asked for the assault case to track with the murder case. Both cases have hearings set for Jan. 14 before Judge Glen Dawson.
"I have not yet received much of the information about the assault case," Mauro said.
Officials said Sloop had refused to go back to his cell at lockdown on Nov. 21 and there was a verbal altercation between Sloop and the deputy.
The deputy was injured, but Sloop was not.
Sloop is now housed in maximum security. He has been held at the jail without bail, since his arrest on May 11, 2010.
According to the probable cause statement filed with the charge, Sloop "struck a deputy twice in his face, attempted to
gouge the deputy's eyes out, and attempted to bite through the deputy's thumb, causing a deep wound that required
Mauro said after Friday's hearing that he is still talking to prosecutors about a possible plea negotiation in the murder case. He would not elaborate on any specifics.
"We do not have a resolution at this point," Mauro said. "There are no terms formally memorialized yet."
Sloop and his wife, Stephanie Sloop, are both 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.
Officials say Ethan Stacy, son of Stephanie Sloop, died May 8, 2010. His disfigured body was found near Powder
Mountain on May 11, 2010, after the Sloops called police to report him missing from their apartment.
A trial for Nathanael Sloop is set for March with jury selection scheduled for March 13-14 and the trial set to run March
17-28. The penalty phase of the trial is set for April 2-4, if needed.
Mauro also said he plans to challenge "Shelby's Law," regarding capital offenses, which is what the Sloops are charged.
Prosecutors have filed their intent to seek the death penalty for Nathanael Sloop. They claim the Sloops gave Ethan over-the-counter medication to hide the physical abuse inflicted on the boy. They said the boy was beaten, put in a scalding tub of water and forced to eat his feces.
Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE.