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FARMINGTON — In police interviews read and played in court Thursday, Nathan Sloop repeatedly said the death of his 4-year-old stepson was "an accident."
"Accidental and intentional are two different things," Sloop said twice during a police interview. Defense attorney Richard Mauro read the statements from a transcript.
Thursday marked the second of a three-day hearing on the evidence against Sloop, 34, who is faces capital murder and other charges in the brutal 2010 death of Ethan Stacy.
Thursday's hearing was made up entirely of Mauro's cross-examination of Layton Police Sgt. Jeff Roderick and focused on calls Nathan and Stephanie Sloop made to a psychologist and homeopathic physician, medications prescribed to Nathan Sloop, medications administered to Ethan and Nathan Sloop's desire to take the blame for the boy's mother.
"Blame it all on me, I don't care," Nathan Sloop told police, according to a police interview transcript. "I don't want Steph to go to prison. … I'll make me out to be Jack the (expletive deleted) Ripper."
Roderick confirmed that the man told police he was worried about his wife getting beat up in prison.
Both Nathan and Stephanie Sloop are accused of killing the boy through what prosecutor David Cole said was "reckless indifference to human life." He said Ethan was scalded, beaten, overmedicated and not given the medical care that he needed.
Ethan arrived in Utah April 28, 2010, to visit his mother for the summer as part of her divorce agreement. The couple was married days later on May 6 and Nathan Sloop told police that they didn't take the boy to the wedding ceremony because they didn't want anyone else to notice the boy's injuries. Two days later, the boy was dead.
He admitted he should have taken the child to the emergency room, but was "afraid I was going to go to prison." Defense attorneys argued that Sloop and his wife were "constantly" talking with healthcare professionals about the boy during his 10 days in Utah.
Investigators believe the boy died May 8 and was buried that afternoon. Mauro said the couple thought the boy died in his sleep. They decided against calling 911 because of the fear of going to prison.
While prosecutors and police say Ethan died of "severe abuse," Mauro said the boy's death was not intentional and was caused dehydration through overmedication.
The court hearing for Nathan Sloop is expected to wrap up Friday afternoon.