FARMINGTON — As expected, Nathan Sloop pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder in the 2010 death of his stepson Ethan Stacy in an arraignment on Tuesday.
Sloop, 34, wore jail clothes and handcuffs for the brief hearing. Second District Judge Glen Dawson set a two-week trial beginning March 17, 2014. Jury selection is set forMarch 13-14.
In addition to the aggravated murder charge, Sloop faces charges of intentionally inflicting serious injury on a child, obstructing justice and abuse or desecration of a human body.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings has said he will seek the death penalty under the 2007 amendment to Utah homicide statute known as Shelby's Law. That allows the death penalty if the child dies as the result of an act of abuse, even if the death was unintentional, according to Rawlings’ interpretation.
Following the hearing, Sloop's attorney Richard Mauro reiterated the defense's stand that they will fight the use of Shelby's Law.
"The case has become complicated," he told reporters. “We continue to look at how the law applies and if it's even constitutional.”
Charging documents allege that Sloop and his wife Stephanie, who is Ethan's mother, beat and burned the 4-year-old and didn't seek medical attention for the boy, who died on May 9, 2010. The couple then allegedly buried Ethan in a shallow grave near Powder Mountain and reported him missing.