Utah officially seeking death penalty in death of 4-year-old Ethan Stacy

Published: Friday, Dec. 7 2012 9:45 a.m. MST

Nathanael Warren Sloop appears in court for his hearing on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, at Second District Court in Farmington, Utah. Sloop is charged with murder in the death of 4-year-old Ethan Stacy.

Standard-Examiner, Nick Short, Associated Press

FARMINGTON — Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings had long hinted he would do it, but he made it official Thursday when he filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Nathan Sloop.

Sloop is charged with aggravated murder and other charges in the brutal killing of 4-year-old Ethan Stacy in 2010.

Sloop, 33, and his new wife at the time, Stephanie Sloop, 29, are both accused of abusing Stephanie's biological son, killing him less than two weeks after he arrived from Virginia to stay with them for the summer, and burying his body — wrapped in garbage bags and tape — near Powder Mountain in Weber County.

Nathan Sloop then attempted to disfigure Ethan's face with a hammer so he couldn't be identified, according to police reports. The Sloops had reported to police that Ethan was missing, sparking a large day-and-a-half search before investigators began to put pressure on the Sloops due to inconsistencies in their stories.

Details of the gruesome death sparked an outcry among Utah residents, many of whom had never met Ethan.

When Nathan and Stephanie Sloop got married, they left Ethan locked up in their apartment because they didn't want anyone to see the bruises he had due to the abuse he was enduring, the reports state.

Nathan Sloop pleaded not guilty in July and waived a preliminary hearing. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for Tuesday.

Stephanie Sloop is scheduled to return to court Dec. 14. Her preliminary hearing has been delayed because of alleged "new developments in evidence" that attorneys need to look at first, according to court records. She has not yet entered a plea.

In addition to capital murder, the Sloops also each face charges of obstructing justice and intentionally inflicting serious injury on a child, both second-degree felonies; and desecration of a dead body, a third-degree felony. Nathan Sloop is also charged with damaging a jail, a third-degree felony.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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