A Roy man, charged with second-degree murder and desecration of a human body, and his wife, charged with child abuse and desecration of a human body, have waived their preliminary hearings in connection with the death of the woman's 5-year-old son.

James Thomas, 30, and Debra Thomas, 28, were scheduled Monday for a preliminary hearing, but the couple Wednesday agreed to waive the hearing. The Thomases are now set to enter pleas to the felony charges Friday in 2nd District Court.Defense attorney Bernie Allen said a trial is unlikely because plea bargain negotiations were under way.

James Thomas is accused of killing Nicolas McGuire on Nov. 11 and then burying the boy in the couple's back yard. Prosecutors believe the victim - stuffed inside two garbage bags - was buried between Nov. 11 and 16.

Weber County Attorney Reed Richards has refused to disclose the cause of death, but defense attorney John Caine said autopsy results revealed the boy may have died from asphyxiation.

The couple was arrested on Dec. 17 after Roy police dug up the boy's remains. They were at first charged with desecration of a human body, but last week prosecutors added additional charges of murder and child abuse.

The two have remained in the Weber County Jail in lieu of a $35,000 bond each.

Four other children were in the Thomas house when the arrests were made and they are now in foster homes. Debra Thomas is seven months pregnant.

James Thomas could be sentenced to serve from five years to life in prison for the first-degree felony murder charge, and Debra Thomas is facing a prison sentence of from one to 15 years for the second-degree child-abuse charge. Both could also be sentenced to an additional five years each for the third-degree felony desecration of a human body.