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Mark Hacking-- who a year ago was preparing to move to North Carolina with his wife to attend medical school -- admitted publicly on Thursday to murdering her as she lay sleeping in their Salt Lake City apartment.

With murder victim Lori Hacking's mother weeping in the courtroom, Hacking said he intentionally shot Lori Hacking in the head in the early morning hours of July 19 at 127 S. Lincoln St. (945 East).

Though a murder weapon was never recovered, police found Lori Hacking's remains at the Salt Lake County landfill on Oct. 1 after a tedious search through hundreds of tons of garbage. Her body had been disposed of in a plastic trash bag.

Originally charged with first-degree felony murder and three second-degree felony counts of obstruction of justice, Mark Hacking pleaded guilty to the murder charge in exchange for prosecutors' dismissing the obstruction charges.

Third District Judge Denise Lindberg scheduled sentencing for June 6. Hacking faces six years to life in prison, with a possibility of parole.

Today's guilty plea came in a courtroom packed with news reporters, the general public and relatives of the killer and the victim.

Among those in attendance were Lori Hacking's parents, Thelma Soares and Eraldo Soares, who are divorced; and Mark Hacking's parents, Douglas and Janet Hacking.

Hacking reported his wife missing the morning of July 19, saying she had failed to return from a jog in City Creek Canyon. Later that morning, Hacking purchased a new mattress.

Police, meanwhile, almost immediately began focusing on Hacking after they found trace amounts of blood in the Hackings' apartment and in his wife's car, which was found in Memory Grove.

Detectives also recovered a mattress, which had its pillow top cut off, from a Dumpster at an LDS church near the Hackings' apartment.

In the early morning hours of July 20, Hacking reportedly was observed naked outside the Chase Suite Hotel, 765 E. 400 South. Police took him to the University Hospital's psychiatric unit.

Later that day, police learned that Mark Hacking had been living a lie with his wife and family. Contrary to what he had told them, he had not graduated from the University of Utah and he had not been accepted to medical school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

In his hospital room on July 24, Hacking confessed to his brothers, Lance and Scott Hacking, that he killed his wife and disposed of her body and murder weapon.