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