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Farmington • A Layton man charged in the slaying of 4-year-old Ethan Stacy has waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Such a waiver can mean plea negotiations have been successful. But nothing of the sort was mentioned during Tuesday's hearing for Nathan Sloop.

Nathan Sloop, 33, and Stephanie Sloop, 29, are charged with aggravated murder in the 2010 death of the boy, who was Stephanie Sloop's son.

A scheduling hearing for Nathan Sloop was set for May 22 before 2nd District Judge Glen Dawson. At that time Sloop will be required to enter a plea — guilty or not guilty — to the charges.

Meanwhile, defense attorney Rich Mauro told the judge he will continue to look at evidentiary issues pertaining to the case.

Sloop's waiver of the preliminary hearing is conditional, meaning he could ask for such a hearing in the future under certain circumstances.

At preliminary hearings, prosecutors must show enough evidence to a judge to demonstrate there is sufficient cause for a defendant to stand trial. Defense attorneys have the opportunity to challenge that evidence and seek a dismissal or reduction of the charges.

A preliminary hearing for Stephanie Sloop has yet to be scheduled.

Charging documents allege the Sloops engaged in multiple acts of "severe abuse" between April 29 and May 8 in 2010, which led to Ethan's death, including "beatings, burning, drugging, isolating, malnourishing, leaving the child alone and unattended while suffering, and refusing to seek vital life-sustaining medical attention."

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