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Hacking family statement

Published: Tuesday, June 7 2005 12:00 a.m. MDT

Mark Hacking's family released the following statement Monday, which was read by Douglas Hacking, Mark Hacking's father, at a press conference in Salt Lake City.

"It is difficult to talk about our son, Mark Hacking, without sounding like we are making excuses for his involvement in the senseless and tragic death of our daughter-in-law Lori on the night of July 18, 2004. We are doing so to clear up some misconceptions about this case and to provide a clearer understanding of what occurred and why.

"As has already been reported by the media, in 1996 Mark was sent home from an LDS mission for failing to live up to the high standards expected from the missionaries called to represent the church. He was also having some health problems and returned ashamed and in spiritual, emotional, and physical pain.

"Within a few weeks, Mark suffered a series of additional health problems that resulted in three surgeries. The most serious of these issues was a concussion, seizure and broken back from falling off the roof of a house. Following months of incapacitating back pain, Mark tried to go back to college but found it almost impossible to sit in class for long due to the pain and resulting inability to concentrate. His ability to sit improved over the years, but his inability to concentrate or learn continued to hinder him.

"Although we were unaware of Mark's learning disability, we have recently come to know how agonizing it was for him to fail one class after another to the point that he could no longer attend college. These failures were terribly hard on his self-esteem and created constant anxiety for him. Rather than admit to himself and others that he could not succeed in college, he began to create the illusion that he was going to school and doing well. He pretended to graduate from the University of Utah and carried his deception to the point of actually visiting several medical schools to 'interview.' We now know that he lied about graduating from college and applying to medical schools. Mark told everyone that he had been accepted to four schools and deliberated which to attend. Last summer, Mark and Lori traveled to North Carolina to look for a place to live and signed a rental agreement. They then quit their jobs in Utah and packed to move.

"Mark sensed that the house of cards he had been building for years was beginning to sway, and he became even more anxious. Lori found out that he had never applied to any medical schools, and Mark finally admitted everything to her on the night of July 18, 2004. As you can imagine, Lori was deeply hurt.

"To clear up some misconceptions about Mark's confession, it was reported Mark's brothers, Lance and Scott, were the ones who told authorities Mark had killed Lori. The reality is that on July 24, Lance confronted Mark with the evidence police had gathered and urged him to reveal where Lori's body was. He and Scott met with Mark that evening, at which time Mark confessed everything to them. His attorney was notified and instructed, by Mark, to provide information regarding Lori's whereabouts to the district attorney, an act which took place the following day. From that point on, it was never a matter of whether Mark would plead guilty but when he would do it based on the processes of the legal system. Mark resolved in August that he would never let his case be tried and informed his attorney of that decision.

"As for Mark's character, until this chain of events, he had never been in trouble with the law nor did he ever develop bad habits such as the use of illegal drugs. Mark always had good friends. He has always been an obedient, hard working, and thoughtful individual who treated us with respect.

"More than anything, we know that Mark loved Lori. We never heard them argue. We never heard him say a negative word about her. When they were not working, they were inseparable.

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