WAHOO – A Wahoo man accused of possession of child pornography has been found competent to stand trial.
On Aug. 10 Saunders County District Court Judge Christina Marroquin ruled that William J. Sloup is competent to stand trial for 10 counts of child pornography.
A jury trial has been set for Nov. 16 at 9 a.m. in District Court.
According to court documents, Sloup was arrested late last year after a two-year investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol that was sparked by an anonymous tip. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a cyber tip on Dec. 1, 2017 that was forwarded to the NSP’s Internet Crimes Against Children division the same day.
The tip came from a person who met a man named “Bill” Sloup from Wahoo, Nebraska on a social media site. The tipster said Sloup allegedly admitted he was a pedophile and customers at the salon where he worked shared images and videos of child pornography with him. He also alleged that Sloup confessed to molesting a child.
The tip was forwarded to the Saunders County Sheriff’s Office for investigation. Investigator Jay Morrow was assigned to the case. On Dec. 19, 2017, Morrow interviewed Sloup about the tip at Sloup’s home on Broadway Street, which was his residence at the time. Sloup gave Morrow verbal and written permission to search his smart phone, and Morrow found three images depicting child pornography that were obtained by Sloup in August and September of 2017.
Morrow obtained a search warrant for the phone on Dec. 26, 2017 and took it to Investigator Nathan Darmento with the state patrol. Darmento was assigned to take over the investigation, and sought a second search warrant to look for other digital artifacts of illegal activity related to child exploitation and/or child pornography. Judge C. Jo Petersen approved the search warrant on Feb. 7, 2018.
The investigation continued and Sloup was arrested on Dec. 31, 2019. He was held at the Law Enforcement and Judicial Center in Wahoo until he posted 10% of the $250,000 bond set by a judge on Feb. 14, 2020. On March 4, 2020, charges were filed against Sloup for 10 counts of distribution of visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child (child pornography).
Sloup attempted suicide on March 13, 2020 in his new residence on East Sloup Drive in Wahoo. According to court records, when Sloup’s brother went to check on him he heard music coming from the basement and found a letter by the front door. The brother went downstairs and as he opened a door to the storeroom he saw Sloup step off of a ladder with an extension cord tied around his neck. Sloup was taken by emergency medical personnel to a Lincoln hospital, where he was treated for seven days.
Wahoo Police officers and members of the sheriff’s office investigated the attempted suicide and reported they found evidence that Sloup spent considerable time preparing for the suicide by writing numerous letters to family and friends and labeling items in the home to indicate who was to receive them after his death.
Sloup’s attorney, James Martin Davis, asked for a competency hearing. The hearing was set for April 8, but Davis asked for a continuance because he said the defense received the doctor’s evaluation less than a week before the hearing and needed more time to prepare. He also said he needed to meet with his client in person, but could not do so at the time because four members of the jail staff had tested positive for COVID-19 and visitors were not allowed.
The judge agreed to continue the hearing to June 15, and reinstated Sloup’s bond, increasing it to $300,000.
Marroquin issued her ruling that Sloup was competent to stand trial on Aug. 10. During that hearing, Sloup waived his right to a speedy trial and the judge granted the defense request to continue the status hearing. A pretrial hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 19.