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Mark Hacking pleads guilty to Lori Soares' murder

Salt Lake Tribune: Hacking deal looks likely

Occurred to me I hadn't followed any news on this case for quite a while. I was hoping there'd be a trial so we might get some insight into the workings of the mind that decides killing a person is better than divorcing her, but I see that's unlikely now.

Not that much more likely with a trial, sure, but the chance is a bit greater I think.

I hope if Mark Hacking pleads out that it provides the Soares family with some comfort.

Entire Tribune story below the cut.

Hacking deal looks likely
By Stephen Hunt

Prosecuting and defense attorneys aren't talking, but a resolution in the Mark Hacking murder case appears more and more likely.

Although Hacking's trial is set to begin Monday before 3rd District Judge Denise Lindberg, another murder trial, for Joshua Leotos Charles, has been scheduled for that same day before the same judge.

Unlike in the Hacking case, however, the trial for Charles appears ready to begin on Monday—as evidenced by motions regarding expert witnesses, evidentiary issues and jury questioning.

Nothing of that sort has occurred in the Hacking case—no motions, no notification of experts, no discussion about the logistics of picking a jury for a high-profile defendant.

Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Patricia Parkinson, who is prosecuting Charles, said Wednesday that his trial was still a go.

So is Hacking, who is scheduled to appear in a hearing Friday before Lindberg, headed for a plea?

Lead prosecutor Robert Stott refused to say and downplayed the double-booking by Judge Lindberg, noting that it is not unusual for judges to set several trials on the same day in anticipation that one or more will be resolved or postponed.

"If the Hacking case goes, it will be the one that goes to trial," Stott insisted. "The Hacking case is the No. 1 priority."

Hacking, 28, is charged with first-degree felony murder for allegedly shooting his sleeping wife, 27-year-old Lori Hacking, in the head at their Salt Lake City apartment in the early hours of July 19.

He is charged with three additional second-degree felony counts of obstructing justice for disposing of the body, a mattress and the murder weapon, a .22-caliber rifle.

Lori Hacking's body was found Oct. 1 at the Salt Lake County landfill. The mattress was discovered in a Dumpster near the Hackings' apartment. The rifle has not been located.

David Gehris, spokesman for Lori Hacking's mother, Thelma Soares, said Wednesday, "I have absolutely no comment. We have absolutely no knowledge as to what is going to happen Friday. It's a wait-and-see."

Hacking's defense attorney, Gilbert Athay, did not return a telephone call.

Charles, 20, is charged with first-degree murder for the March 27, 2004, shooting death of 18-year-old Carlos Ortiz, who was gunned down on the porch of his grandmother's Salt Lake City home.