Judge sets hearing dates in Sloop case

Apr 27 2011 - 9:34am

FARMINGTON -- A judge set dates for a preliminary hearing for the man accused of killing 4-year-old Ethan Stacy.

Defense attorneys for Nathanael Sloop met with prosecutors and the judge before Friday morning's hearing to discuss an agreement to move the case forward, said 2nd District Court Judge Michael G. Allphin.

Nathan Sloop sat next to his attorneys, Richard Mauro and Scott Williams, during the hearing.

Allphin set Feb. 1 through Feb. 3 for the hearing, where prosecutors have the burden to show there is enough evidence against Nathan Sloop.

Nathan Sloop's wife, Stephanie Sloop, who is also charged in the case, has a hearing this afternoon.

Allphin said attorneys brought up several issues during a meeting in his chambers. Attorneys plan to file several motions, including on privilege issues.

After the hearing, Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said, "There are no privilege issues in this case," when asked if a spousal privilege may be a concern.

Rawlings said prosecutors could do a preliminary hearing now, but the defense attorneys need time to review more than 10,000 pages of documents and several hundred CDs to prepare for the preliminary hearing.

The Sloops, of Layton, are both charged with aggravated murder in the death of Ethan, whose body was found buried near Powder Mountain on May 11. Both face the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

Prosecutors have 60 days after a felony arraignment hearing to file their intention to seek the death penalty. The felony arraignment hearing happens after the preliminary hearing.

Both are also charged with second-degre felony child abuse, second-degree felony obstruction of justice and third-degree felony abuse or desecration of a body in connection with Ethan's death.

Ethan had come to Utah on May 1 to spend the summer with Stephanie Sloop, his mother, and his step-father, Nathanael Sloop, following a divorce settlement.

Both are accused of abusing Ethan for days in their Layton apartment before he died May 9.

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