FARMINGTON– A message that supposedly came from Ethan Stacy’s father Joe Stacy, and that was read to the media following Nathanael Sloop’s preliminary hearing on Tuesday, apparently didn’t come from the father of the 4-year-old boy who died in May 2010 at all.
During the hearing held in 2nd District Court on Tuesday, preliminary hearing dates of March 27-29 were set for Sloop. A March 18 exhibit date was also set.
Several members of what has been dubbed “Ethan’s Army,” who attend most of Sloop’s hearings, met with reporters to share a message they said was from Ethan’s father Joe Stacy, who lives in Virginia.
Anissa Martinez, of Roy, read the statement to reporters. It said, in part, the Stacy family is not satisfied with the death penalty, “but if that’s as much as we can get, it will have to be.”
She also read that the family is putting their trust in the justice system and in God.
However, on Wednesday, Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said Teresa Kendell, a victim’s advocate appointed by Rawlings’ office to represent the Stacys at court hearings, contacted Joe Stacy following the woman’s remarks and was told Joe Stacy had not appointed a spokesperson, nor did he authorize anyone to speak on the family’s behalf. Joe Stacy has shunned publicity and told Kendell that he doesn’t speak to anyone but prosecutors and the victim’s advocate, Rawlings said.
“It is troubling to us that it happened,” Rawlings said. He said his office has done everything it can to minimize publicity in order to maximize the defendant’s right to a fair trial.
Nathanael and his wife Stephanie Sloop are charged with murder in the death of Stephanie Sloop’s son, 4-year-old Ethan Stacy. His body was found May 11, 2010 near Powder Mountain in Weber County. The Davis County Attorney’s Office filed a notice of intent last week that it would be seeking the death penalty for Nathanael Sloop.
Early in the case, Sloop conditionally waived his right to a preliminary hearing. On Tuesday, Sloop’s attorney Rich Mauro told reporters that he always kept the option of having a preliminary hearing open.
They plan on proceeding with the preliminary hearing, “put some defense on and spend three days in court discussing evidence,” he said.
There have been discussions with the prosecution concerning a possible plea deal, but at this point there is none.
“If we reach an agreement, we reach an agreement,” he said. “If not, we move forward. There’s always discussions on how things might go, what might happen.”
Stephanie Sloop is also charged with murder in her son’s death, but is being tried separately. She will be in court on Friday.
Ethan came to Utah from Florida to spend the summer with his mother on a court-ordered visit in 2010. A probable cause statement released by Layton Police after the boy’s body was found alleges that Nathan Sloop beat the boy around the head and face.
The couple allegedly locked Ethan in a bedroom when they went to get married.
The Sloops reported Nathan missing the night before searchers found his body.
Ethan was buried in Grundy, Va., on May 20.