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Preliminary hearing set for Utah mom accused of son's death

Published July 30, 2013 12:39 pm

Courts • Stephanie Sloop and her husband, Nathan Sloop, are charged with murder in the 2010 death of the woman's son, 4-year-old Ethan Stacy.
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Farmington • A four-day preliminary hearing for Stephanie Sloop — charged with murder in the 2010 death of her son, 4-year-old Ethan Stacy — has been set to begin Dec. 10 in 2nd District Court.

Sloop, along with her husband, Nathan Sloop — who was Ethan's stepfather — are both charged with first-degree felony aggravated murder, second-degree felony counts of obstructing justice and inflicting serious injury on a child, and third-degree felony abuse or desecration of a dead human body.

Davis County prosecutors have filed their intent to seek the death penalty against 34-year-old Nathan Sloop, citing "Shelby's Law," a 2007 amendment to Utah's homicide statute that allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty without having to prove a killing was intentional when a child dies during an act of abuse, sexual assault or kidnapping.

A trial date will likely be set after Nathan Sloop's arraignment on Aug. 13.

Prosecutors have not said whether they intend to seek the death penalty for 30-year-old Stephanie Sloop.

Charging documents state the Layton couple engaged in multiple acts of "severe abuse" between April 29 and May 8 in 2010 that 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."

The couple — who said they left the injured boy in a locked bedroom while they got married on May 6 — reported Ethan missing to police on Mother's Day, May 10, after discovering the boy was dead. But after a 12-hour search, police say the couple confessed to burying the boy near Powder Mountain Ski Resort in Weber County.

Nathan Sloop, who led officers to the body on May 11, told police he used a hammer to disfigure the boy's face and teeth in an effort to hinder identification.


Twitter: @jm_miller






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