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Family of Mark Hacking says he confessed to brothers

| Friday, Aug. 6, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Mark Hacking confessed to two older brothers that he killed his wife as she slept and then put her body in a trash bin, their father said Thursday.

Hacking, confronted with evidence he had something to do with his wife's disappearance, and overwhelmed by the volunteer effort to find her, made the confession when his brothers Scott and Lance visited him at a psychiatric ward July 24, said their father, Douglas Hacking.

"He decided the time was right -- he had better let authorities know what happened," Douglas Hacking said.

The details of the confession were disclosed yesterday in an interview of Scott Hacking in The Salt Lake Tribune.

Scott Hacking told the newspaper Wednesday that after Mark confessed, "My brother and I sat and hugged him for about an hour, and then we went home."

The information was relayed to police through an intermediary July 25.

"I've never seen him (Scott) hurting so much as that night, struggling with having to make that decision," said Douglas Hacking. "When it was all done, he said, 'I never felt as relieved or miserable at the same time.' It's a terrible dilemma for him to be in."

He said he believed Mark Hacking had a psychological breakdown because his wife apparently learned of his lie about having been accepted to medical school. Both Scott Hacking and Douglas Hacking are physicians, and the elder man has said his younger son probably felt pressured by the achievements of his relatives.

Mark Hacking, 28, called police July 19 and said his wife had failed to show up for work after going for an early-morning jog.

He was arrested Monday on suspicion of murder as he was about to be released from the psychiatric ward where he'd been since being found naked outside a hotel July 20.

Police believe that three days before she vanished, Lori Hacking discovered that her husband had not been enrolled at a medical school in North Carolina, where the couple was packing to move. It also was discovered that he had lied about graduating from the University of Utah.

Scott Hacking, 33, said he was aware that his brother, if convicted, could face execution.

"I certainly worried about that," he told the newspaper. "My family believes in the justice system. ... If those consequences are the ones he has to face, then again, we will support him through that point, though I hope he does not have to face that consequence."

He said he hopes the information resolves the case.

"My family started this entire process with two goals in mind," he said. "One was to bring Lori back and the other was to discover the truth. And we were determined to do both of those things.

"No brother wants to offer information about his own brother," he said.

Late yesterday afternoon was the deadline for Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom to file formal charges, but a judge granted him an extension until Monday.

Yocom has declined to say whether he would seek the death penalty, but he said the wishes of the victim's family are given great weight.

The search for remains at the county landfill resumed Wednesday night after a few days off. The searches have been halted temporarily when cadaver dogs were needed on other assignments and when their handlers felt the animals needed time off.

Large spotlights lighted the area Wednesday night and a backhoe tore out large chunks of garbage that were then spread out for the dogs to go over. The searches are conducted overnight because the dogs work more effectively in the cooler air, authorities have said.

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