Sadly, spouse on spouse murders seems almost common place now days. By 2004 when this crime was committed it was already a well established fact, but yet this was one of those cases that I remember very well when it happened. I cannot honestly say what exactly kept my attention so much in this case. Every case is a bit different and have their own twists and turns and this case is no different in that aspect. However, it could have been that Mark Hacking's deceit was so elaborate and far reaching that it seemed unbelievable. Even today, while I do not doubt that Mark Hacking pulled the wool over people's eyes, I question how people were not onto his lies long before he took the life of his wife.
On July 19, 2004 Mark Hacking, of Salt Lake City Utah called 9-1-1 at ten minutes to eleven in the morning to report his wife missing. According to Mark, his wife, Lori, had left the house to go for a morning run and had never returned. The Hacking's had been married for five years and Lori had just discovered in recent days that she was pregnant. They were also preparing for a move to North Carolina and much of their home was already in boxes on that morning.
Less than twenty-four hours later Mark Hacking had what could only be considered to be a mental breakdown. He was staying at a hotel and in the early morning of July 20th he was found running around outside wearing nothing but his shoes. His family was contacted and he was admitted into a psychiatric hospital. Four days later Mark's father and two brothers confronted him about Lori's disappearance. Mark told his story and his family went to authorities.
Friends and family of Mark and Lori Hacking believed that Mark had recently graduated “with honors” from the University of Utah and had been accepted to medical school in North Carolina where the couple would soon be moving. Lori had recently resigned from her job at Wells Fargo in anticipation of of the move. However, Mark's family would realize that despite appearing to do homework, including writing term papers, Mark had never graduated from the local university. This is one thing that puzzles me. I understand that he could have faked that he was in college but I cannot understand how everyone was able to believe that he graduated and did not question that very early on. I would have thought that there would have been a ceremony and considering he was saying that not only was he graduating but that he was accepted at a school in North Carolina. Family would have known that graduation was imminent. Whatever the reason was it does appear that everyone believed he had graduated and now they were discovering that was not true. It was also not true that he had been accepted, or even applied at a medical school in North Carolina. According to Mark, on July 18th Lori had become aware of his lies.
Mark would tell his father and brothers that on that evening he and Lori had fought, and talked. She had gone to bed and that while he had no explanation as to why he had continued to pack things in the home and had come across his .22 caliber rifle. In that moment he would say that he would shoot Lori while she was sleeping. He then took her body and rolled it in a carpet and placed her body in a dumpster. Early that next morning he had gone to the store to buy a new mattress while he dumped the old one and other evidence throughout the area in other dumpsters. He had then gone home and called the authorities.
On August 2, 2004 Mark Hacking was arrested in connection with the murder of his wife. One week later he was officially charged with first degree murder. In the meantime authorities were searching the local landfill for Lori's body. My research seemed a bit sketchy here. I found that I was said that on October 1st Lori's decomposed body was found in the Salt Lake County Landfill. Other information claimed that the carpet in which Mark had wrapped the body in was found but that all that was found pertaining to her body was two teeth and a piece of bone from her shoulder that was the size of a quarter.
There was much debate on the fact that when Mark went into court on October 29, 2004 he had pleaded not guilty. In fairness this is very common and not the ploy that many see it to be. First, all defendants have the right to a defense. Secondly, few crimes are open and shut even when the person is clearly guilty. I have stated often that my “obsession” with true crime is not just about the crimes themselves but with the judicial system. There have been plenty of cases in which I will tell you the defendant was guilty as charged and found to be so in a court of law, however, they did not receive a fair trial. There are rules that are to be followed and the fact that he pleaded not guilty is just one of the steps in the system. It is not only of the many ploys that we do see where people attempt to drag a case out for as long as possible or try to get out of being punished for a crime they committed. In the end Mark Hacking did plead guilty in April of 2005.
The law at the time in Utah was that a conviction of aggravated murder (which is what he pleaded guilty to) received a mandatory sentence of six years to life. Apparently the parole board almost immediately looks at the case and it is the board that decides when that person is eligible for parole. In this case according to my information they ruled that he would not be eligible for parole until the year 2035. The Utah Department of Corrections show “N/A” as a date for a parole hearing. Lori's family advocated for a law change. It has been called “Lori's Law” and was placed into law. Now, instead of receiving a sentence of six years to life for aggravated murder the sentence will be fifteen years to life.
While few murderers deserve much of anything, I have to give Mark Hacking the fact that he has taken full responsibility for his actions and has shown true remorse. Over the years her mother has stated that she has forgiven him and as of 2014 she had written correspondence with Mark. She never makes an excuse for him; she never agrees in any shape or form with what he did obviously but she has forgiven. He has openly told her, as well as the media, and the court that he truly regrets what he did and knows that he deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. With that in mind it seems that he has adjusted to prison life. His family spoke to the press at the time of his sentencing and stated they would not speak publicly again, they have kept that promise.