News Stories About This Case

Nathan Sloop was violent, had multiple personalities, ex-wife said

Jennifer Freeman, of Orlando, Fla., didn't want to leave their 5-year-old daughter alone with him.

"He is too unstable and might hurt [their daughter] to get back at me," she wrote in a petition for a protective order filed in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida and obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune . About a month after the judge finalized a protective order against him, Sloop's new fiance, Stephanie, brought her 4-year-old son Ethan to live with them in Utah for the summer.

But according to divorce papers filed by Ethan's father, the boy's mother was also "unstable" and he didn't want Ethan to spend the summer with her.

"The mother has abandoned the child and I'm afraid the mother will come and take him and I'll never see him again," Joe Stacy wrote in an emergency petition for temporary custody filed in November.

That request was denied. On April 28, Ethan arrived in Layton to spend the summer with his mother and her fiance.

A week later, Nathan Sloop closed a bedroom door and began slapping and beating Ethan around the head and face, leaving him bruised and swollen, according to police documents. Ethan's mother didn't stop the beating, and didn't take him to the doctor.

The next day, the couple locked Ethan in a bedroom and went to the county courthouse in Farmington to get married, documents say. They didn't bring him for fear that someone would see his injuries and call police.

Over the next few days, Ethan would not eat, was lethargic, had a fever and was vomiting, possible signs of a brain injury. On Friday, Stephanie Sloop said she came home to find her son badly burned on his feet and legs. She said she didn't believe Sloop's story about an accident in an overly hot bath, but thought he would hurt her and didn't call police.

Ethan died the next day, Mother's Day. The Sloops disfigured his body and buried him off a trail near Powder Mountain Ski Resort.

Stephanie Sloop reported Ethan missing Monday. After a 12-hour search, the couple's story unraveled, and they admitted where they had buried the body.

They are being held on suspicion of child abuse and desecration of a corpse; Nathan Sloop is also being held on suspicion of aggravated homicide. Charges are expected to be filed today.

They are not allowed near other inmates and are being held alone in cells 23 hours a day, allowed out only to shower and exercise, jail officers said.

Carla Jones, a former friend of Stephanie Sloop from when she lived in Florida, said that last week she received "a few" messages from Stephanie Sloop, but she did not return them because she "was sick of the drama."

"You carry a lot of guilt around when someone calls you hysterical and you don't call them back, but she had cried wolf one too many times," Jones said. "Had I ever known they would have done this to Ethan, I would have intervened."

According to divorce papers, Sloop was abusive in his first marriage. He and Freeman married in 1999 in Florida, when he was 20 and she was 19. The couple moved to Utah and bought a house in Roy. When she got pregnant in 2004, he insisted she stay at home with the child.

He exerted an "unreasonable" and "unhealthy level of control" over her, Freeman claimed in divorce papers. He hit and slapped her, pulled her hair and pushed her into walls, Freeman said. She left him in October 2007 and took their daughter to her parents' home in Florida, according to court papers.

Freeman could not be contacted Thursday for comment.

In court filings, Nathan Sloop denied abusing her and denied being diagnosed with a mental illness other than obsessive compulsive disorder. No domestic violence charges were filed against him in Utah.

In the settlement, the couple shared custody, with the girl designated to spend summers and half of holidays with her father and live the rest of the year with her mother in Florida.

About a year after the divorce was finalized, Freeman filed for a protective order, quoting from a 1½-hour stream of threatening voice mails Sloop had left on Sept. 2 for both Freeman and her boyfriend.

"I don't give a f--- if I gotta spend the rest of my life in f------ prison, f--- you, I'm coming for your f------ throat," he told her, according to the filing.

"I believe he has the ability to carry out these threats," she wrote.

Meanwhile, Nathan Sloop had reconnected with Stephanie Stacy, with whom he had gone to the same high school in Florida.

Carla Jones said she befriended Stephanie Sloop five years ago when she came to the Florida doctor's office where Jones worked. Jones watched Ethan while his mother had her appointments.

She said their families would have dinner at each other's homes and hang out a lot.

When Stephanie left, Carla and her family did their best to be supportive and kept doing activities with Ethan and Joe Stacy before they moved to Virginia.

"We were friends until Stephanie went off the deep end and abandoned Joe and Ethan," Jones said. "It was always all about Stephanie."

Sheena McFarland and Bob Mims contributed to this story.

Stephanie Sloop requests marriage annulment June 27th, 2010 @ 3:06pm SALT LAKE CITY (AP)

A woman charged in the death and mutilation of her 4-year-old son is seeking an annulment from her new husband.

Stephanie Sloop, 27, filed the annulment petition Friday in Farmington's 2nd District Court. She married Nathanael Sloop on May 6 -- five days before her son Ethan Stacy's disfigured body was discovered by police buried on a northern Utah mountainside.

She claimed in the court papers that the marriage "was not voluntary, and was the result or product of physical duress by" the 31-year-old Sloop. Nathanael Sloop could fight the petition, which does not detail how he may have coerced his bride. Mary Corporon, Stephanie Sloop's defense attorney, declined to comment on the annulment petition.

 A wedding website said the couple had been engaged for several months and had planned an Independence Day marriage ceremony at a relative's home in Golden, Colo. But in a call to her half-brother on May 5, Stephanie Sloop said she and Nathanael Sloop would marry in Utah the next day so that they could qualify for public aid. The couple was married at Farmington's old memorial courthouse. olice say the Sloops left Ethan Stacy alone and locked inside a bedroom in their Layton apartment during the ceremony.

On May 10, Stephanie Sloop reported the boy missing to police. A search was called off within hours after the story the Sloops had told police began to change during questioning. The Sloops face charges of aggravated murder and other felonies related to the boy's death. Prosecutors have not said whether they will seek the death penalty. The couple remained held without bail in the Davis County jail. Stephanie Sloop's annulment petition also asks that her name be changed to a previous surname. No specific surname is indicated, but she formerly used the name Stephanie Stacy. Ethan Stacy's father, Joe Stacy, of Richlands, Va., said Friday that he did not want his ex-wife using his surname.

Court date for Stephanie Sloop in son's killing
- set for June
Published: Monday, Jan. 31, 2011 8:08 p.m. MST

FARMINGTON — A Layton woman accused of murdering her young son waived her right to a speedy trial Monday.

The preliminary hearing for Stephanie Sloop was pushed back to give her attorneys more time to review new evidence in the case. Her next court date is set for June 27, the Standard-Examiner reported. Sloop is charged with aggravated murder in connection with the death of 4-year-old Ethan Stacy last year.

The next court date for her husband, Nathan Sloop, was also set for June 27 last week. Both face capital murder charges in addition to charges of child abuse and obstructing justice, both second-degree felonies, and abuse or desecration of a body, a third-degree felony.

The couple is accused of killing Stephanie Sloop's son and burying his body near Powder Mountain in Weber County on or around Mother's Day. Court documents list "severe abuse" as the cause of death.

Nathan Sloop agrees to continue preliminary hearing
The Salt Lake Tribune
First published Jan 28 2011 12:46PM
Updated Mar 22, 2011 11:26PM

Farmington • Nathan Sloop — accused along with his wife of killing her 4-year-old son, Ethan Stacy — agreed on Friday to continue his preliminary hearing until later this year while attorneys iron out the admissibility of certain evidence.

A similar hearing is scheduled for Monday for Stephanie Sloop.

The Sloops, of Layton, are each charged with aggravated murder, which carries the potential for the death penalty, as well as child abuse and other felonies in connection with the May 2010 death of the boy.

Preliminary hearings, scheduled for February, were canceled earlier this week.

Deputy Davis County Attorney David Cole on Friday told 2nd District Judge Michael Allphin that prosecutors have discovered two new sources of evidence that they want to present at the preliminary hearing and at trial. Cole said the continuance is necessary so the defense can file objections to the evidence. He added that the continuance ultimately would not delay the trial.

Allphin set a status hearing for Nathan Sloop for June 27.

Meanwhile, attorneys will sort out the evidence-related issues with the assigned trial judge, Glen Dawson.

Such issues are usually raised with the trial judge following a preliminary hearing. But defense attorney Rich Mauro told reporters, "We’d like to deal with them before the preliminary hearing."

Charging documents say the couple engaged in multiple acts of "severe abuse" between April 29 and May 8, which 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."

Attorneys for Nathan Sloop seek to close hearing from public, seal evidence
Published: Thursday, March 17, 2011 6:20 p.m.

Emiley Morgan Deseret News

Attorneys for a man accused of brutally beating and killing his stepson claim that items have been taken from the man's jail cell — and they are seeking to keep that information out of court.

Nathan Sloop's attorney, Richard Mauro, told 2nd District Judge Glen Dawson that there are two items of evidence he feels should not be used in any court proceeding. In addition to the items that were allegedly taken from Sloop's cell by Davis County sheriff's officials, Mauro said prosecutors are trying to subpoena records involving Sloop's interaction with a therapist.

Admitting such evidence would violate Sloop's constitutional right to reasonable search and seizure and jeopardize his privileges involving the client-attorney and patient-doctor relationships, Mauro said.

But Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said prosecutors aren't seeking to do anything illegal or procure information that is privileged.

"It's our intention that in both cases, with both defendants, that all the evidence that has or will be obtained will be done lawfully," he said.

David Cole, who heads up the criminal division of the Davis County Attorney's Office, said, "We're not seeking to know anything more than we know at this point."

Sloop, 32, and his wife, Stephanie, are both facing capital murder charges in addition to charges of child abuse and obstructing justice, both second-degree felonies, and abuse or desecration of a body, a third-degree felony.

The couple is accused of killing Stephanie Sloop's son, Ethan Stacy, and burying his body near Powder Mountain in Weber County on or around Mother's Day 2010. Court documents list "severe abuse" as the cause of death.

Investigators say Ethan was abused between April 29 and May 8.

After the boy was killed, the Sloops took his body to a rural area in the mountains and buried him in a shallow grave, police say. The couple is also accused of attempting to disfigure his body with a hammer to make it harder for police to identify him.

Defense attorneys had asked the court to close the hearings to the public and press and seal all documents relating to the evidence. Nathan Sloop's attorneys filed a motion in February arguing that detailing what is in the evidence may be prejudicial to their client.

"The identification of these issues with more specificity will jeopardize Mr. Sloop's due process rights and right to a fair trial, and exposure of the issues in a public hearing will undermine the very privileges that Mr. Sloop seeks to protect," the motion states.

Dawson decided to hold a hearing on the patient-doctor privilege issue and the potential subpoena of medical records on April 21. The hearing will be public, but any specifics within the evidence in question will be heard privately by the judge.

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