FARMINGTON - Nathan Sloop has pleaded guilty to the 2010 killing his stepson, Ethan Stacy.
Sloop pleaded "guilty but mentally ill" in order to avoid the death penalty as part of plea deal that will result in a 25-years-to-life sentence in prison.
Sloop was charged under "Shelby's Law," named after 10-year-old Shelby Andrews, of Syracuse, who was killed by father and stepmother in 2006. Both guardians admitted to beating Shelby and subjecting her to other severe punishment. The law went into effect on 2007.
Ethan Stacy was 4 years old when prosecutors say he died from "severe abuse" at the hands of Nathan.
Ethan's remains were found near in the wilderness near Powder Mountain after Nathan and his mother Stephanie Sloop created a ruse, suggesting the boy had wandered off.
The Sloops led investigators to the burial site after repeated questioning about Ethan's disappearance.
Judge Glen Dawson agreed to the arrangement and sentenced Sloop to 25 years to life for killing Ethan. He also sentenced Sloop to a separate 1 to 15 years in prison over a jailhouse beating. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently.
Nathan Sloop entered a packed courtroom, wearing a red jail jumpsuit and shackles.Throughout the proceeding he respectfully and articulately answered Dawson's questions as to his understanding of the charges and his subsequent pleas.
He took the opportunity to speak for the first time since little Ethan's death.
"Reckless indifference was my state of mind in 2009 and 2010," he told the court."I was reckless and indifferent in that time of my life and in the end, it was my reckless behavior and indifference to life that Ethan got caught up in.
"I'm accountable for my actions.That boy died on my watch and I'm horribly sorry."
Ethan's father Joe Stacy and his wife Becky, flew out from Virginia.
Prosecutors and Layton City Police Chief Terry Keefe asked the media to respect the couple's privacy.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings indicated Joe Stacy may make a statement at a later time.
The courtroom was packed with about a dozen Layton City Police officers, many of whom worked on the case. There was also a number of Davis County Sheriff's deputies present.
Following the hearing, Keefe told the media the officers were there to support Joe and his wife and to support Ethan..
"There's some things in law enforcement you don't forget and some of them are bad," Keefe said.
He said he believes the plea deal was the best possible solution.
When asked about Sloop's apology, Keefe said, "I'm not sure it was sincere."
Stay connected with davisclipper.com for more on this developing story.