Stepfather could face death penalty in child's murder

Ethan Stacy died in 2010

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - A trial date has been set for a Utah man accused in the murder of a southwest Virginia boy.

Nathan Sloop was in court in Salt Lake City on Tuesday where he pled not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the death of his stepson Ethan Stacy.

Ethan died in 2010, just days after he arrived in Utah for a court-ordered visit to see his mother, Stephanie Sloop, for week.

Ethan lived with his father in Richlands, Virginia.

Court documents say severe abuse between April 29 and May 8 was the cause of Ethan's death.

Defense attorneys argued Ethan didn't die of abuse but of dehydration.

Sloop's trial is scheduled to begin March 17 of next year. The judge instructed attorneys an penalty phase to consider the death penalty will be held if Sloop is convicted.

Ethan's mother, Stephanie Sloop, is also charged with aggravated murder in his death, among other charges.

A hearing on evidence against her is set for December 10.

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