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Mark Hacking

Mark Hacking killed his wife, Lori, while she was sleeping and then dumped her body in a Dumpster, a court filing says.

He also told someone about the killing — and that person told police, according to the probable cause statement, a sworn police affidavit, filed Tuesday.

Hacking was arrested Monday for investigation of aggravated murder and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail. Tuesday, a judge set bail at $500,000, cash-only.

The new probable cause statement also amended the booking charge to criminal homicide, under which various degrees of felony murder could apply when prosecutors actually file formal charges. Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom said Tuesday the original booking charge was simply a computer error.

Also released was a more detailed probable cause statement after a judge deemed the original document "insufficient." It included two short statements indicating the date Mark Hacking reported Lori missing and that a confidential informant had told police that Mark was responsible for her death.

In the new information, police say that in a search of the couple's apartment, 127 S. Lincoln St. (945 East), they found a bloodied knife and blood samples on the headboard of the Hackings' bed. A mattress, which was matched by serial numbers to a box springs in the apartment, was located in a Dumpster about a block away. Flakes and smears of blood that matched the blood found on the knife were also found in Lori's car, which was parked near the entrance to Memory Grove.

There are also details about the time frame of Mark Hacking's report to police of his wife's disappearance and his purchase of a mattress from a South Salt Lake store at 10:23 a.m.

Initially, Salt Lake detectives said Mark Hacking's first call to police dispatchers came in at 10:46 a.m. July 19. But according to the probable cause statement, he first reported her missing at 10:07 a.m. He called a second time at 10:46 a.m.

Another surprise in the probable cause statement is that Mark Hacking told a "reliable citizen witness" about the killing on July 24, just five days after Lori vanished. At the time, a volunteer search for the young woman was in full swing. And it wasn't until a week later on July 31 that her family called off those search efforts based on information provided to them by Mark.

The identity of the witness was not immediately made public.

The identity — and the fact that Mark told this person about the killing while in a psychiatric ward — may present challenges for prosecutors, Brigham Young University law professor Marguerite Driessen said.

"There are going to be issues around this, around competency. What (he) understood he said, when he said it and, of course, who did he say this to?" said Driessen, who teaches criminal law.

Nothing in the probable cause statement rules out any possibilities, she said. The person could be another patient, a family member, a physician or a psychiatric professional.

"This raises all kinds of issues around credibility," Driessen added. "Who are they, how do they know and how did they come to know it? The biggest wiggle room here is for the defense."

Still, Driessen said she wonders why prosecutors are waiting to file formal charges against Mark Hacking.

"It seems that with what they've put in the probable cause statement, they've got enough," she said.

If the district attorney's office files a charge of first-degree criminal homicide, prosecutors can still seek the death penalty if Hacking is convicted. Yocom declined comment Tuesday on questions regarding the death penalty in the Hacking case but said requests from the victim's family are normally given heavy consideration.

Yocom said his office would be prepared to go to trial even if Lori's body is never found. He said Tuesday it's too early to speculate on the strength of the case.

He also stressed that Monday was essentially the first day his office had the chance to view the case. As a result of that first meeting with investigators, the district attorney's office told police to gather additional interviews with witnesses, prepare more transcripts of statements and generally "marshal the evidence" so a filing decision can be made.

Prosecutors saw only a brief one-page summary overview of the evidence on Monday, Yocom said. He said once all the evidence is properly prepared there will be considerably more to read through.

The law calls for formal charges to be filed within 72 hours of an arrest. But Yocom said filing for an extension wouldn't be unusual, especially in a case like this.

In most cases, the evidence is screened by the time the district attorney's office issues an arrest warrant, Yocom said. In this case, police arrested Hacking prior to an arrest warrant — something they can legally do and something Yocom said he agreed with in this situation.

Salt Lake police are scheduled to return to the landfill tonight to continue searching for Lori Hacking's body. Salt Lake police detective Dwayne Baird said there were certain "landmarks" that investigators will look for in the large pile of trash. Once those landmarks are found, investigators believe they'll be close to finding Lori's body.

Baird described the landmarks as "items we've been told are there" that are not connected to the case. They are items that investigators can use as reference points, he said. In general terms, police know other items from the Hackings' neighborhood that were also sent to the landfill. If they find them, they'll know the garbage came from the Hackings' neighborhood.

Hacking initially reported that his wife of five years, who was newly pregnant, had gone jogging in the the morning of July 19 and never returned. That launched a massive volunteer search that lasted more than a week and included more than 4,000 people.

A day after Lori Hacking was reported missing, Mark was admitted to a psychiatric unit at the University of Utah Medical Center, where he remained until Monday. Police arrested him at the hospital and booked him into jail.

After Lori's disappearance, it was learned that Mark had lied to friends, family and possibly his wife for months about his present and future life, including about his recent college graduation and acceptance to medical school. He does not have a college degree and was never admitted to medical school.

Maverik Country Stores has made public the video of two visits by Mark Hacking to a store near the Hackings' apartment in the hours before he first reported his wife missing.

About 9:19 p.m. July 18, Mark and Lori Hacking entered the store to purchase soft drinks. The couple was in the store for just three minutes and seemed distant, a clerk told the Deseret Morning News.

A few hours later, at 1:18 a.m. July 19, Mark Hacking again entered the store, to purchase cigarettes.

Brent Taylor, Maverik director of marketing, said store officials released the video to police last Thursday.

"We released it for the public to be able to see it and fill in some blanks," Taylor said. "It is very, very haunting to know these are the last images. It's very, very sad for all of us and all our employees."

The video indicates Mark partially changed his clothes in between the first and second visits to the store.

When Mark and Lori arrived at the store, Mark wore leather sandals, khaki shorts and a gray T-shirt with navy blue trim.

In his second visit later that night, he wore scrubs, flip-flops and the same T-shirt. The video of that visit also shows him studying his hands while at the store counter.

Lori Hacking was wearing scrubs, a gray V-neck T-shirt. Her hair was in a high pony tail when she visited the store with Mark.

A Maverik clerk told the media last week that during the couple's visit to the store, Mark gestured to the clerk to not reveal to Lori that he regularly bought cigarettes there. The video does not show the gesture, since Mark was off camera when it happened, Taylor said.


Contributing: Leigh Dethman.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com, jdobner@desnews.com