Attorneys in court with Sloops now need to find co-counsel

Jun 14 2010 - 11:28pm

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(DJAMILA GROSSMAN/Standard-Examiner) Nathanael Sloop follows his newly appointed attorney Richard Mauro out of the courtroom after a hearing in 2nd District Court in Farmington on Monday.
(DJAMILA GROSSMAN/Standard-Examiner) Nathanael Sloop follows his newly appointed attorney Richard Mauro out of the courtroom after a hearing in 2nd District Court in Farmington on Monday.

SLIDESHOW: Nathanael and Stephanie Sloop appear in court

FARMINGTON -- The two attorneys appointed to defend Nathanael and Stephanie Sloop say their next step is to find co-counsel.

Attorneys Mary Corporon and Richard Mauro appeared Monday before 2nd District Court Judge Michael G. Allphin.

The Sloops are charged with aggravated murder, which carries the possibility of a death sentence if they are convicted. The charge stems from the death of 4-year-old Ethan Stacy, whose body was found buried near Powder Mountain on May 11.

Stephanie Sloop is Ethan's mother; Nathanael Sloop is the stepfather. The couple, who married after Ethan arrived in Utah in early May for visitation as the result of a divorce settlement, reported the boy missing, saying he had wandered from their Layton apartment.

Stephanie Sloop had originally been assigned a court date for Friday, but officials moved it up to Monday.

Another hearing, when both public defenders hope to have all the reports, as well as names of second attorneys, has been set for 1 p.m. July 14 for the pair.

By legal statute, the Sloops have the right to each have two attorneys appointed to their cases because they are charged with aggravated murder, which carries the death penalty, life without parole in Utah State Prison, or 25 years to life with the possibility of parole.

Hearings for the couple, since they were arrested May 11, have been scheduled regularly a half-hour before regular central arraignment court.

"We keep them separated from the other inmates for their own safety," said Davis County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Bob Yeaman.

The two have received threats from inmates at the jail and are being kept in maximum security, Yeaman said.

The Sloops also are charged with second-degree felony child abuse, second-degree felony obstruction of justice and third-degree felony abuse or desecration of a human body. Nathanael Sloop also is charged with third- degree felony damaging a jail.

Mauro and Corporon said in court they have not received all of the reports they need to review before deciding if they need a preliminary hearing. They also said that even though they were appointed by 2nd District Court Presiding Judge Thomas L. Kay on Thursday, they have yet to receive contracts to sign.

As to the public outcry the case has generated, Mauro said, "We have here a process of law that we follow. It is important to remember in our society everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty."

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