Judge appoints new attorneys for Sloops

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FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) -- A judge has appointed two public defenders for the newlyweds charged with aggravated murder in the beating death of the woman's 4-year-old boy.

Second District Judge Thomas L. Kay indicated in his order Thursday that Richard P. Mauro and Mary Corporon are qualified to defend against death-penalty cases.

Ethan Stacy
Ethan Stacy

Mauro was appointed to represent the stepfather, 31-year-old Nathanael Sloop, and Corporon the mother, 27-year-old Stephanie Sloop.

Mauro and Corporon were in court on unrelated cases Friday and unavailable for comment, their law firms told The Associated Press.

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said Friday he wasn't ready to make a decision about whether to seek the death penalty, but that the case was heading in that direction.

That's a statement he offered weeks ago that, he said, still stands. Rawlings said he had nothing more to add.

Rawlings would have to declare his intention 60 calendar days after the Sloop's arraignment, which has yet to be held -- it usually follows a preliminary hearing, which hasn't been scheduled, either, said Utah State Courts spokeswoman Nancy Volmer.

In Utah, judges hold preliminary hearings to determine if there's enough evidence to bind defendants over for trial.

The Sloops were charged in court May 28 with aggravated murder, desecration of a body, obstruction of justice and child abuse.

Nathanael Sloop is scheduled to return to 2nd District Court for a roll call hearing Monday before Judge Michael Allphin.

Stephanie Sloop will appear in front of the same judge June 18.

The Sloops are being held without bail in the death last month of Ethan Stacy. The boy's body was recovered from a shallow grave in the Utah mountains May 11. That was 10 days after he arrived in Utah for a summer visit with his mother.

The Sloops were initially appointed other public defenders who have chosen not to take on death-penalty cases.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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