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Mark Hacking pleads 'not guilty'

Somehow it doesn't surprise me that Mark Hacking didn't have the balls to plead guilty and be done with it.

I'm sorry for Lori Hacking's family. If there can be any good from this, perhaps it'll be that Mark Hacking eventually feels impelled to disclose the full story of Lori's death, which might help put the Soares' minds at ease.

Entire story below, exactly as it appeared on the Trib's site.

Salt Lake Tribune: Hacking's Plea: Not Guilty

The family of murder victim Lori Hacking came to court Friday hoping Mark Hacking would end their pain by pleading guilty.

Instead, Hacking stood mute before 3rd District Judge Denise Lindberg and let defense attorney Gilbert Athay enter "not guilty" pleas for him. Hacking—wearing the now-familiar bullet-proof vest and surrounded by bailiffs—nodded his assent when Lindberg asked: "Is that right?"

The judge then scheduled a one-week trial to begin April 18.

Following the three-minute hearing, Lori's mother, Thelma Soares, berated her son-in-law for prolonging her family's emotional agony.

"In pleading not guilty, Mark continues to hurt us," Soares told reporters. "I feel outrage on behalf of Lori and her baby. Mark heaps insult upon injury."

But Soares added she was "not overly concerned about the legal posturing.

"I know Mark will one day receive perfect judgment from the only judge who knows every detail of what he did that terrible night," she said.

Hacking, 28, is charged with first-degree felony murder for allegedly shooting his 27-year-old wife in the head while she slept in the early hours of July 19.

Hacking is also charged with three second-degree felony counts of obstructing justice for allegedly disposing of Lori's body, the alleged murder weapon a .22-caliber rifle and a bedroom mattress.

The mattress was found in a Dumpster near the Hacking's Salt Lake City apartment on the day of the homicide.

Lori's remains, identified from dental records, were found Oct. 1 at the Salt Lake County landfill by police who had sifted for weeks through hundreds of tons of garbage. The rifle has not been found.

An autopsy of the 15 pounds of Lori's remains that were recovered failed to reveal the cause of her death. The remains were also too deteriorated to determine if Lori was pregnant.

That means much of the information about the Lori's death and what happened to evidence came from Hacking himself during an alleged confession to his brothers Lance and Scott Hacking on July 24.

Scott Hacking told reporters Friday that he has mixed feelings about the case going to trial.

He said he expects it will be "painful" to testify against his younger brother, but added that a trial could shed light on many questions that family members and the public are asking.

"We don't know all the answers," Scott Hacking said. "Maybe [a trial] would bring some of these questions out."

As for reports that Mark Hacking is writing a book about the case, Scott Hacking said he understood his brother's goal was "to get out the entire truth."

Meanwhile, family members are continuing to visit Mark Hacking at the Salt Lake County Jail. Scott Hacking said he was there Wednesday.

"We talked about him and how he's doing," Scott Hacking said. "We've encouraged him to pray a lot. We're fasting and hoping . . . he'll make the right decisions."

He said the Hackings are also praying for the Soares family and "we hope they feel comforted."

Deputy Salt Lake District Attorney Robert who huddled with the Soares family in a conference room for a half-hour after the arraignment said family members were expressing their feelings and asking about what would happen next.

"We have an obligation to work with them and alleviate their fears," Stott said.

April was the soonest Judge Lindberg could hold the trial. But setting it six months away will be "hard for the family," but gives prosecutors more time to prepare, Stott said.

Stott said no plea deal had been offered. "Neither Mr. Athay nor anyone from our office has talked about a plea negotiations," Stott said.

Athay declined to talk to reporters at the courthouse and did not return a phone message to his office.