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Nathan Sloop admits to brutal death of 4-year-old stepson

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 4 2014 4:30 p.m. MST

"We don't think there's anything we do could do with this case to bring justice to Ethan Stacy," Rawlings said, noting that his office will ask that the Board of Pardons and Parole keep Sloop in prison for his natural life. "It is our position and hope and there is a likelihood that the defendant will never be released."

Defense attorneys have countered that Ethan didn't die of severe abuse, but of dehydration from overmedication.

"Reckless indifference describes what Mr. Sloop did in this case," defense attorney Richard Mauro said. "I don't think Mr. Sloop wanted Ethan to die or intended for him to die. Did his actions contribute to that? Yes. Was his behavior recklessly indifferent? ... Yes. He accepts responsibility for all of it.

Mauro said Sloop was once an All-American academic Lacrosse player whose mental illness "sent him off the tracks." He said his client was on a number of legally-obtained medications and was even prescribed as many as 4,000 pain pills in a nine-month span.

"The capacity of the defendant to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct was impaired as a result of a medical condition," Mauro said, adding that he felt his client's illness was "mistreated" and that what Sloop did to Ethan was discipline gone awry. "He tried to do the right thing and was unsuccessful. He made imperfect decisions about Ethan Stacy and they were bad imperfect decisions."

Sloop said he was "reckless and indifferent in my mindset at that point in my life" and never intended to harm Ethan.

"I want to apologize to all those affected by my reckless indifference to Ethan Stacy — Joe and my mom and any others, I beg for their forgiveness," he said. "I stand wholly accountable for my actions."

Stephanie Sloop is charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; inflicting a serious injury on a child and obstructing justice, second-degree felonies; and abuse or desecration of a human body, a third-degree felony. Her case has been trailing Nathan Sloop's case and she has a court hearing set for Feb. 11.

Nathan Sloop faced additional charges in an unrelated case in December after he attacked a deputy at the Davis County Jail. In the Nov. 21 incident, Sloop punched the officer while trying to gouge his eyes out and biting his thumb.

Sloop also pleaded guilty in that case Tuesday to aggravated assault by a prisoner, a second-degree felony. The judge sentenced him to a term of one to 15 years in prison for that charge. Dawson ordered that sentence to be served concurrent with the aggravated murder sentence.

The courtroom was packed Tuesday, with many people standing during the proceedings. The crowd included a large law enforcement presence, including many Layton police officers and Davis County sheriff's deputies.

"We wanted to be here to support Ethan in the sentencing to make sure justice was done for Ethan," Keefe said. "This is the type of case that will live in the memories of the officers that have been involved in this case over the last four years — not only for the rest of their careers, but also the rest of their lives.

"There are some things in law enforcement that you don't forget."

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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