A Roy couple Friday waived their preliminary hearing on a third-degree felony charge of abuse or desecration of a human body in connection with the death of the woman's 5-year-old son, who was found buried in the couple's back yard Dec. 17.
Deborah Thomas, 28, and the victim's stepfather, James Thomas, 30, went before 2nd Circuit Judge Brent West to determine if there was enough evidence to bind the couple over for trial in the burial of Nicholas McGuire. The couple are scheduled to enter a plea Jan. 4 in 2nd District Court before Judge Ronald O. Hyde.Weber County Attorney Reed Richards said Friday morning that the Utah Medical Examiner's Office had not yet officially determined McGuire's cause of death.
The two were arrested and put in the Weber County Jail in lieu of a $35,000 bond each after Deborah Thomas' son was found wrapped in garbage bags buried in their back yard.
The criminal complaint charges that the mother and stepfather buried the boy between Nov. 11 and Nov. 16.
After the couple waived their preliminary hearing, public defenders Bernie Allen and Martin Gravis asked for a reduction in bail and said that $35,000 was unreasonable considering their clients were only charged with third-degree felonies.
Deputy Weber County Attorney Bill Daines objected, pointing out that the couple had no ties to the community, that they were transient individuals and there was evidence that the defendants were planning to leave the state shortly after Christmas. He said the investigation was ongoing.
Daines also told the judge that four other children were taken from the house and turned over to the Division of Family Services. He said the children were in "various stages of suffering child abuse."
But Allen said that even if the bail was reduced he didn't think the defendants could come up with the money and it was unlikely that the couple would take the four children and leave the state.
"She (Deborah) certainly intends to stay here," said Allen. "This family isn't going to walk off."
Allen also said that the couple had lived in Utah for eight months and that Deborah Thomas was working as a waitress to support her family.
Roy Detective Mike Donehoo testified that James Thomas had told him that he had moved to Utah to find a job. When the defendant couldn't find work, Donehoo said, Thomas told him that he was going to leave the state and possibly go to Phoenix to find work.
West denied the motion to reduce bail, saying there was "risk" involved and that the case was "sensitive."