SALT LAKE CITY – Mark Hacking (search), accused of killing his sleeping wife and dumping her body in a trash bin, has been grieving and praying, his parents said after visiting him Thursday night.
Douglas and Janet Hacking visited him at the Salt Lake County Jail (search) on the first day he was allowed visitors since his arrest last week.
Her voice breaking, Janet Hacking told reporters outside the jail that they pray for Lori Hacking (search) and her family, "and hope that people will forgive us and pray for us."
Police and cadaver dogs returned to the county landfill Thursday night to resume the search for Lori Hacking's body.
An area of the landfill where the body is believed to have been emptied from a garbage truck has been searched on and off since two days after Mark Hacking reported Lori missing on July 19. The searching is being done at night for the benefit of the cadaver dogs, who are better able to differentiate among the smells when it is cooler. The dogs are under stress from the heat and all of the smells. The searches go on for a few nights, and then the dogs are given a few nights off.
Hacking is charged with first-degree felony murder, punishable by five years to life in prison, and with three counts of three counts of obstructing justice, which carries a maximum penalty of one to 15 years in prison. The obstruction charges relate to his alleged disposal of the body, the rifle he allegedly used to shoot her and the mattress where she had been sleeping. It is believed he disposed of the evidence in three different trash containers. The actual time served in Utah's indeterminate sentences is determined by the state's parole board.
Hacking, 28, had claimed his wife went jogging and never showed up for work.
But police suspected him from the start and had an early tip that Lori's body had been taken to the landfill. Meanwhile, thousands of people searched for the 27-year-old woman until the families said Mark had provided information that made the search unnecessary.
It was learned later that Mark had been confronted by his two brothers and he allegedly told them that he and Lori had argued, she had gone to bed, he "came across" his .22 caliber rifle and he shot her.
The couple had been preparing to move to North Carolina where he claimed to have been admitted to medical school. Authorities believe his wife had learned that he had never even applied to the school and it is now known that he had not even graduated from college, contrary to his claims.
The night after Hacking reported Lori missing, he was found naked outside a hotel and was taken to a psychiatric ward, where he remained until he was taken to jail.
His attorney, Gil Athay, has said that "mental illness, mental deficiency certainly will be an issue in this case," including the possibility that Hacking may have suffered organic damage when he fell from a roof several years ago.
Janet Hacking said Thursday night she has spent a lot of time thinking of Mark as "a sweet, little boy," of the promise and the good things, "and that I still have faith in him that he will find his way back."