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Utah mom accused in son's death wants evidence turned over

Published February 12, 2014 7:32 am

Courts • Stephanie Sloop's attorneys think prosecutors have evidence that could clear her.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Farmington • Court proceedings against Stephanie Sloop — charged with murder in the 2010 death of her son — continue to be delayed as attorneys hash out evidence issues in the case.

Sloop, 31, along with her husband, Nathan Sloop — who was Ethan's stepfather — were both charged with first-degree felony aggravated murder, second-degree felony counts of obstructing justice and inflicting serious injury on a child, and third-degree felony abuse or desecration of a dead human body after the boy's death.

Stephanie Sloop, shackled and dressed in a red jumpsuit, sighed heavily and cried during a brief court appearance on Tuesday — one week after her husband was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in the case.

The woman's attorney, Mary Corporon, told the judge Tuesday that she believes evidence that could help prove Stephanie Sloop's innocence in the case has not been released to her because Nathan Sloop's attorneys have argued that they are protected documents. Releasing that evidence to Corporon would violate Nathan Sloop's constitutional rights, his defense attorneys have argued.

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said he would like to give the information to Corporon, but competing constitutional claims by Nathan Sloop have prevented it.

   

"The competition here is between Mr. and Mrs. Sloop," Rawlings told 2nd District Judge Glen Dawson.

Neither Rawlings nor Corporon detailed what the potentially exculpatory evidence was.

Dawson did not set another court hearing Tuesday, but advised prosecutors and Corporon to get together with Nathan Sloop's attorneys to find a date to schedule an evidentiary hearing.

Stephanie Sloop's case has been trailing her husband's, and had been put on hold while Nathan Sloop's case was resolved.

One week ago, Nathan Sloop, 35, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to aggravated murder — a capital offense — while the remaining charges related to the boy's death were dismissed. He also pleaded guilty but mentally ill to second-degree felony aggravated assault by a prisoner for attacking a Davis County jail officer.

"That boy died on my watch, and I'm horribly sorry," Nathan Sloop told Glen Dawson on Feb. 4.

Nathan Sloop was sentenced to spend 25 years to life in prison on the murder count, and 1 to 15 years for the aggravated assault. Dawson ordered the two sentences to run concurrently.

Charging documents state the Layton couple engaged in multiple acts of "severe abuse" between April 29 and May 8 in 2010 that led to Ethan's death, including "beatings, burning, drugging, isolating, malnourishing, leaving the child alone and unattended while suffering, and refusing to seek vital life-sustaining medical attention."

The couple — who said they left the injured boy in a locked bedroom while they got married on May 6 — reported Ethan missing to police on Mother's Day, May 10, after discovering the boy was dead. But after a 12-hour search, police say the couple confessed to burying the boy near Powder Mountain Ski Resort in Weber County.

Nathan Sloop, who led officers to the body on May 11, told police he used a hammer to disfigure the boy's face and teeth in an effort to hinder identification.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller