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After they argued, Lori Hacking went to bed and Mark Hacking played Nintendo. An hour later, prosecutors say, he shot her in the head as she slept.

Mark Hacking, 28, was charged Monday with first-degree felony murder in the July 19 death of Lori Hacking, 27.

A criminal complaint filed in 3rd District Court also charges him with three second-degree felony counts of obstructing justice for allegedly disposing of his wife's body, the murder weapon and the mattress in three different Dumpsters.

His defense attorney, D. Gilbert Athay, declined comment.

Mark Hacking is set to make a first appearance in 3rd District Court today. Bail has been set at $1 million, cash only.

If convicted on the murder charge, Mark Hacking faces a sentence of five years to life in prison. Each obstruction charge carries a sentence of one to 15 years.

For the first time, authorities revealed that Lori was killed with a gun, specifically a .22-caliber rifle. The much-publicized blood-stained knife recovered from the couple's apartment apparently was used to cut up the couple's mattress to hide evidence.

The complaint states that blood found on the knife and on the bedframe matched blood found in her car and was linked to Lori through DNA tests.

"I think we have an excellent case," said Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom.

That case is built largely around information provided by Mark Hacking's brothers, Scott and Lance, that was substantiated by evidence recovered by police at the alleged crime scene.

"Everything corroborates the truth of the [brothers'] statement to a T," Yocom said.

Prosecutors, however, still are missing some key evidence. They do not have a body or a murder weapon, despite nine days of searching the Salt Lake County Landfill.

And although prosecutors do not have to prove a motive, Yocom said he believes Mark Hacking killed his wife to conceal his lies.

"She had discovered he had told her innumerable lies. There was obviously a dispute about that. He killed her not to be discovered with regard to his lies."

The drama began July 16, when Lori called Randee Alston at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to ask about financial aid for her husband, according to the complaint.

Alston told Lori she had checked several databases, finding Mark Hacking was not registered and had not even applied to the medical school. Lori's co-workers previously said she was upset by a phone call that day and left work early.

Mark Hacking called police about 10:07 a.m. July 19 and reported his wife had not returned from an early-morning jog in City Creek Canyon. A few minutes later, he called his wife's office and told them he had found her Chrysler Sebring at Memory Grove and was looking for her.

At 10:46 a.m., he called police again and told them he had found the car.

Police later learned, however, that Mark Hacking had been shopping. They found a sales receipt in his car from Bradley's Sleep Etc. in South Salt Lake, showing he had purchased a new mattress and pillows there at 10:23 a.m., according to the complaint.

He claimed he had awakened at 8 a.m. and found his wife had never returned from running. The resulting search drew thousands of volunteers who scoured the canyon and surrounding neighborhoods for more than a week.

As Mark Hacking reported his wife missing, Alston found a voice-mail message from Lori, left after 5 p.m. Eastern time on July 16. In it, Lori explained her husband had "personally called Ms. Alston" and found that the problem was a computer malfunction and that he had "straightened everything out," the complaint states.

Alston, however, told police she never has spoken to Mark Hacking.

Back in Utah, police almost immediately became suspicious of Mark Hacking's story.

When police examined Lori's car, for example, they found the seat and mirrors were not adjusted for a person her size. They also found blood in and near the back seat of her car.

At the couple's apartment, police found Lori's purse, containing her wallet and keys. They also noticed the couple's bed was made up with sheets that still had the crease marks from packaging.

A knife found in a bedstand contained blood and fibers. Blood also was found on the headboard of the bed.

Authorities later matched all the blood samples to Lori through DNA, though Yocom declined to say how they obtained Lori's DNA.

Authorities believe Mark Hacking used the knife to cut away the mattress' pillow top.

"We think he rolled her in that and put all of that, including the bedding and pillows and anything containing blood in garbage sacks around that, and that's what he deposited in the Dumpster," Yocom said. "That's what, hopefully, we'll find at the landfill."

Before her disappearance, the couple had been packing to move to North Carolina, where Mark Hacking said he had been accepted at medical school. But a few days after she went missing, Hacking's family was stunned to discover that not only had he never applied to medical school, he had never graduated from the University of Utah.

By July 24, Mark Hacking's brothers decided to learn the truth of what happened to Lori.

From his room in University Hospital, where he had been recuperating since a psychiatric episode early July 20, Mark Hacking told them he and Lori had argued late Sunday after he told her he lied about medical school.

Lori went to bed after the argument, and Mark Hacking played Nintendo for about an hour and then did some packing.

He "came across" his .22-caliber rifle and shot his wife in the head once. "Lori's dead and I killed her," he told his brothers, according to the complaint.

News of the shooting surprised the Hackings' neighbors, none of whom reported hearing a gunshot.

Serena Schaugaard, who lived directly upstairs from the couple, said Monday that bothers her.

"The walls are really thin," she said. "I can hear it when he comes home and I can hear it when they open a door or close a door . . . any of those things I can hear. So yeah, it upsets me that I can't remember hearing anything out of the ordinary."

After the shooting, Mark Hacking told his brothers, he wrapped his wife's body in garbage bags and placed it in a Dumpster about 2 a.m. near the University of Utah's Neuropsychiatric Institute, where he was employed as a psychiatric technician, prosecutors said.

That Dumpster was picked up about 6 a.m. on Monday, Yocom said.

"I suspect he knew when the Dumpster would be emptied, since it was near where he worked."

Police recovered the Hackings' mattress on July 19 from a Dumpster in the parking lot of an LDS ward near their apartment, said Yocom. They matched it with a box springs recovered from the apartment.

Before the brothers visited him, Lance Hacking called the hospital and asked staffers to delay his brother's evening medication so he would be lucid, the complaint states.

"We believe at the time he made the statement, he was not sedated," Yocom said. "He was not in any way incoherent."

Lance Hacking described his brother's emotions as "very real," and reported that Mark Hacking was "scared and did not know what to do," according to the complaint.

Police were not aware of the Hacking brothers' visit until July 31 - a week later, the complaint states.

"There is a bit of a disconnect," said Lance Hacking, reached at his home in Austin, Texas, on Monday. He declined to elaborate.

Scott Hacking told The Salt Lake Tribune last week that the confession was relayed through an intermediary to police the following day, July 25.

Authorities said they will continue searching for Lori Hacking's body with cadaver dogs on Thursday in the Salt Lake County Landfill, said Salt Lake City police Detective Dwayne Baird.

Police were first directed to the landfill by a confidential source who reported the body was put in a Dumpster, Yocom said. He refused to elaborate, except to say the informant was not Scott or Lance Hacking.

Yocom said he had met with Lori Hacking's parents, Thelma and Hareld Soares, for about two hours Monday before holding a news conference to announce the charges.

Prosecutors have no evidence, he said, to file aggravated murder charges, which would carry a possible death penalty. Such a charge was considered because Lori was reportedly five weeks pregnant.

Yocom said it was would be virtually impossible, even if Lori Hacking's body is located, to prove she was pregnant.

He refused to say whether the Soares family would support the death penalty for Mark Hacking.


Tribune reporter Matthew D. LaPlante contributed to this story.

What remains unknown

* Police still have not found Lori's body, the bedding she was wrapped in or the gun

* Lori Hacking's reported pregnancy remains unproven