“Remember Mark was housed in a psychiatric unit for the period of time these brothers are claiming they spoke with him,” attorney Gil Athay told Salt Lake television station KUTV Thursday. “To me that creates a substantial issue.”
He said, “mental illness, mental deficiency certainly will be an issue in this case.”
Mark Hacking, 28, reported his wife, Lori, missing on July 19. He said she had gone jogging and never showed up for work. That night police found him naked outside a hotel and he was taken to a hospital and placed in the psychiatric ward.
The following Saturday – the state’s July 24 Pioneer State holiday – his two older brothers, Scott and Lance, talked with him at the hospital. They said he told them he had killed his wife while she was sleeping.
The brothers said they passed the information along to police through an intermediary.
For years, Mark Hacking allegedly lied to his wife, family and friends about his education and career plans. Not only wasn’t he enrolled at medical school, he hadn’t even graduated from the University of Utah. Yet he and his wife were packing for the move to Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Friday before she was reported missing, Lori Hacking left work stunned and sobbing. Her co-workers told the AP that she had been making some arrangements at the North Carolina medical school, and that they believe an administrator was calling back to say Mark Hacking wasn’t enrolled there.
His father believes Mark “just snapped” and killed his pregnant wife after she learned he had been lying for years about his education and career plans.
“I think it’s clear that this whole house of cards he had built, all this deception, had come to an end. He had been found out. His wife discovered his deception and confronted him with it, and I just think he just saw his whole world collapsing and broke down,” the father, Douglas Hacking, told The Associated Press.
“He just snapped, and did something there’s no explanation for. That’s the only way I can envision it,” he said.
Scott and his father are physicians, and Lance Hacking is an electronics engineer. Douglas Hacking said he believed Mark probably felt pressured by his family’s achievements.
Mark Hacking was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Monday when officers learned that he was about to be released from the hospital. Thursday was the deadline for District Attorney David Yocom to file charges in the case, but a judge gave him an extension until Monday. Further extensions could be requested, if Yocom should still not be ready.
Meanwhile, police have been plowing through the area of the county landfill where garbage collected on July 19 and for a couple of hours the next day had been deposited. The garbage trucks were directed to another area as soon as police came to suspect that the body of the 27-year-old woman was there.
The trash was compacted between loads. It’s 20 feet deep over an area of two football fields and weighs about 3,000 tons.
A backhoe digs out a chunk of the trash, which is then spread out and cadaver dogs go over it. The work is done during the cooler night hours for the benefit of the dogs, who are working in difficult circumstances as they are assaulted by so many strong odors. The searches have been interrupted for days at a time to give the dogs a break, or because they are needed on other assignments around the state.
Aug. 6, 2004