FARMINGTON — A 2014 trial date was set Tuesday for a man accused of murdering his young stepson.
Nathanael Warren Sloop, 34, also pleaded not guilty Tuesday to capital murder; as well as charges of obstructing justice and intentionally inflicting serious injury on a child, second-degree felonies; and desecration of a dead body, a third-degree felony, in the death of 4-year-old Ethan Stacy.
A two-week trial is now scheduled to begin March 17, 2014. Judge Glen Dawson also asked that attorneys keep April 2-4 available should Sloop be convicted and the case require a penalty phase to determine whether he will be sentenced to death.
Ethan died in 2010, days after he arrived in Utah from Virginia to spend the summer with his biological mother and Sloop, her then-fiancé. Court documents list "severe abuse" as the cause of death and investigators say Ethan was abused between April 29 and May 8.
His body was found near Powder Mountain in Weber County in a grave sprinkled with dog food. Prosecutors have said the child was scalded, beaten, overmedicated and not given the medical care that he needed.
Ethan had been burned over 17 percent of his body and his face had been disfigured with a hammer.
Defense attorneys have countered that Ethan didn't die of severe abuse, but of dehydration from overmedication.
Stephanie Sloop is also 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.
A hearing on the evidence against her is set to begin Dec. 10.