Skip to comments.Guilty plea by Hacking likely today
Posted on 04/15/2005 8:57:05 AM PDT by MizSterious
|Article Last Updated: 4/15/2005 08:49 AM|
|Guilty plea by Hacking likely today|
|The plan all along? All signs indicate neither side ever intended to go to trial|
| By Matthew D. LaPlante
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
|Expect no gasps of surprise if Mark Hacking pleads guilty today. It appears that he has never intended to do anything otherwise.
Witnesses pivotal to the prosecution's case were never contacted by defense investigators - a fundamental first step in establishing a trial defense in any case, let alone one in which the defendant faces life imprisonment.
And, apparently content that Hacking would not put up a fight, prosecutors have not kept tabs on witnesses either.
"No one has called us since early last fall," said Lisa Downs, co-owner of the furniture store where Hacking arrived to purchase a new mattress on July 19 - the morning he was calling friends and police to report his wife missing.
One witness, who has since left the state, offered to give investigators a new address and phone number, but claims to never have been contacted in response.
That, observers close to the case say, is a good indication that Hacking has always intended to plea guilty.
If that is Hacking's resolution, it's one his father believes began shortly after he was jailed on suspicion of shooting his wife, Lori, as she slept and placing her body in a Dumpster near the hospital where he worked.
After speaking to his jailed son in September, Douglas Hacking said Mark was "determined to do what is right - even if it costs him his life."
Mark doesn't face the death penalty, as some family members initially thought he might. But Lori's brother says punishment should not factor into Mark's decision anyway.
"If he really is accepting responsibility, then that's great - that's one step on the path he needs to take," Paul Soares told The Tribune Thursday, taking a moment away from dinner with family and friends at an Orem restaurant.
Soares, who lives in Los Angeles, said he has not been told for sure that Mark will plead guilty today, "but it doesn't take a brain surgeon," he said. "He's not preparing for trial."
He noted that both his mother and father were planning to be in the courtroom today. He lamented that they didn't hear Mark admit guilt in October, the last time they were all in court together.
"I would have had a lot more respect if he had done it back then," Soares said.
That hearing came shortly after Hacking attorney Gil Athay claimed to be pursuing numerous "possible defenses." Since then, however, Athay has failed to file any trial-related motions or submit questions to be answered by potential jurors in a case that prompted bold local newspaper headlines and attracted national TV coverage for weeks as Mark's lies about his past and future plans came to light.
Mark's family said the lying finally came to an end when Mark confessed to his brothers that he had killed his wife.
Though investigators took evidence from Mark's locker at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute and interviewed several of his co-workers, his supervisor - named as a witness in the murder charges - has not been contacted by the defense.
Mary Talboys said no one from the prosecution has called her, either. "Not at all," she said.
Athay and prosecutor Bob Stott are keeping quiet on the details of today's hearing.
Greg Skordas, a former prosecutor who now frequently defends high-profile clients in Utah, said the absence of any such action on Athay's part is a good indication that Mark will plead guilty.
"If the witnesses have not been contacted yet, there's a reason for that, and that is that they won't be called at all," Skordas said.
The police officers who would be paramount to the prosecution's case do not appear to be gearing up for trial, either.
At least nine officers involved in the investigation of Lori Hacking's murder were named on the same probable cause statement as Talboys. But Salt Lake City police spokesman Dwayne Baird said he's heard nothing about any officers preparing to testify in the high-profile case.
"They might get a subpoena in the morning for that afternoon," Baird said. "That's not necessarily a safe thing to do."
And though he's testified in many cases, Baird said he couldn't remember a time in his career in which that had ever happened to him.
Further, Baird said, it isn't easy to find people at the last moment. "People aren't nailed to floor of their house," he said.
Baird said witnesses and police officers would be necessary to make the case. "They're not going to put him away on public opinion," he said.
But Sione Palauni, also named as a witness in the probable cause statement, says no one has contacted him in preparation for trial.
That leaves only one likely outcome. And many expect it to occur at 2 p.m. today in the Matheson County Courthouse: A change of plea to guilty.
How about him and Scott Peterson in a cell with 20 pit bulls ?
Well, good. I was hoping that his family wouldn't allow him to bleed the family dry with lawyer's fees. It's just too bad he won't get the death penalty.
This would be the best outcome and would save the family the gut wrenching trial. There is so much evidence against him, he would be wise to plea.
From an earlier article:
But no deal is currently on the table.
The 28-year old faces one count of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree felony obstruction of justice for allegedly shooting his 27-year-old wife Lori in the head and disposing of her body in a trash bin.
Lori Hacking's body was found more than a month later amid more than six thousand tons of garbage in a Salt Lake landfill.
Trial is set for April 18th in Third District Court.
No legal motions from either the defense or the prosecution have been filed since October last year, prompting speculation about a plea bargain.
I agree. Very glad to have heard this, although like you, I think he should have gotten the dp for what he did. Both these families seem quite decent--unusual in these cases.
Plus, he already confessed to his brother. I don't think his brother would lie for him, either.
They even look alike. Shave Peterson's head, and he'd be Mark.
Sally Ride, first female astronaut.
Princess Di, formerly-alive Princess of England.
Mark Hacking, admitted wife murderer.
Come on. We all know pit bulls are kind, loving, caring, and gentle dogs. It is only a few bad owners who do not properly socialize their pit bulls that give the breed a bad name.
that was sarcasm for you who are thick skulled, but you will find many a poster on here who agree with the above statement
I was wondering what was going on with this, thanks for posting the article.
...Why subject the dogs to such cruelty...why not put them in a cell instead with 20 gay members of the Ayran Brotherhood, Black Panters, Latino Muchachos, or any of the meanest prison gangs known...
SJ-this is the case I mentioned in my reply to you on one of your recent threads.
LJ-thought you might be interested.
...posted to remember the beautiful person he took away!
Omg, Shave Michael Schiavo's head, and guess who he'd look like?? They all have the same eyes.
Diogenesis, got a few minutes to come up with something?
very nice post......may she rest in peace and he get ALL he deserves
Thanks for the update.
More from today's hearing--
Apr. 15, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY (AP/KSL News) -- Mark Hacking is set to be sentenced June 6 in the murder of his 27-year-old wife Lori.
Hacking pleaded guilty just this afternoon, nearly closing the door on a case that captivated Utah this summer.
In a dramatic moment, Mark Hacking told those gathered in the courtroom, I intentionally shot Lori in the head.
When he's sentenced in a few months, he faces six years to life.
That means Hacking couldn't be charged with a capital crime, so he won't get the death penalty in this case.
Authorities believe Lori was killed after confronting her husband over deceptions about his education and plans to become a doctor. The couple was packing for a move to a North Carolina medical school where, it turned out, Mark Hacking wasn't enrolled and never applied.
But the investigation soon began to focus on her husband, who exhibited some bizarre behavior after Lori went missing.
Mark Hacking had pleaded innocent to the charges in October.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
|Breaking: Mark Hacking pleads guilty to murdering wife|
Mark Hacking-- who a year ago was preparing to move to North Carolina with his wife to attend medical school -- admitted publicly on Thursday to murdering her as she lay sleeping in their Salt Lake City apartment.
With murder victim Lori Hacking's mother weeping in the courtroom, Hacking said he intentionally shot Lori Hacking in the head in the early morning hours of July 19 at 127 S. Lincoln St. (945 East).
Though a murder weapon was never recovered, police found Lori Hacking's remains at the Salt Lake County landfill on Oct. 1 after a tedious search through hundreds of tons of garbage. Her body had been disposed of in a plastic trash bag.
Originally charged with first-degree felony murder and three second-degree felony counts of obstruction of justice, Mark Hacking pleaded guilty to the murder charge in exchange for prosecutors' dismissing the obstruction charges.
Third District Judge Denise Lindberg scheduled sentencing for June 6. Hacking faces six years to life in prison, with a possibility of parole.
Today's guilty plea came in a courtroom packed with news reporters, the general public and relatives of the killer and the victim.
Among those in attendance were Lori Hacking's parents, Thelma Soares and Eraldo Soares, who are divorced; and Mark Hacking's parents, Douglas and Janet Hacking.
Hacking reported his wife missing the morning of July 19, saying she had failed to return from a jog in City Creek Canyon. Later that morning, Hacking purchased a new mattress.
Police, meanwhile, almost immediately began focusing on Hacking after they found trace amounts of blood in the Hackings' apartment and in his wife's car, which was found in Memory Grove.
Detectives also recovered a mattress, which had its pillow top cut off, from a Dumpster at an LDS church near the Hackings' apartment.
In the early morning hours of July 20, Hacking reportedly was observed naked outside the Chase Suite Hotel, 765 E. 400 South. Police took him to the University Hospital's psychiatric unit.
Later that day, police learned that Mark Hacking had been living a lie with his wife and family. Contrary to what he had told them, he had not graduated from the University of Utah and he had not been accepted to medical school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
In his hospital room on July 24, Hacking confessed to his brothers, Lance and Scott Hacking, that he killed his wife and disposed of her body and murder weapon.
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