SALT LAKE CITY – Web sites selling memorabilia related to murder cases are auctioning items allegedly from Mark Hacking, who is in prison in Utah for the slaying of his wife.
A signed hand tracing, a prison visitor's form and two canteen invoice forms are among items offered by a seller known as Hellflorist on murderauction.com.
The seller also offers several magazines that Hacking purportedly owned.
"Both are May 2006 issues," Hellflorist wrote in describing the items, "Toss 'em out on the coffee table, tell your friends Mark left 'em during his last visit."
The site offers letters and signatures from what it claims is a variety of convicted murderers, including Charles Manson.
E-mails sent by The Salt Lake Tribune to the operators of the SK Central Web site were not answered Monday and no bids had been placed on the Hacking items.
Supernaught.com is selling a letter claimed to be from Hacking for $75, the Deseret Morning News reported. The Web site said it did not grant interviews but on its FAQ page, it defended selling such items.
"This Web site is providing a look into their (the inmates') lives and thoughts, whether in words or color to those who are interested," it states, adding that money made by the inmates is spent within the prisons, buying hygiene products, paper, envelopes and postage.
"It is worth a few dollars to understand why some criminals do what they do and several states, including the so-called 'Son of Sam' states, do indeed allow inmates to work and earn income."
As of last year, 40 states had passed Son of Sam laws intended to prevent criminals from profiting from their crimes, generally through book and movie deals. Most were enacted in the 1970s and 1980s after serial killer David Berkowitz obtained a $250,000 book deal. A New York statute was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991.
Utah's Profits from Crime Memorabilia Law requires sellers to donate profits to the state's Crime Victim Reparations Fund. There is no record of any payments being received under the legislation.
The Utah attorney general's office was investigating if the sale of the alleged Hacking items violates state law.
"That would come under this definition," said Sharel Reber, assistant Utah attorney general. "Any person who receives a profit from the sale is supposed to give it to the crime victim reparations fund."
Hacking is serving a sentence of six years to life in prison for the shooting death of his wife, Lori, in July 2004. Hacking shot her in the head as she slept, dumped her body in the garbage and then told authorities she disappeared while jogging. Thousands of people helped search for her or her body before it was disclosed that he had admitted killing her. Her body was found in a landfill.
Police said his wife had discovered that he had lied about much in his life, including that he had graduated from a university and was going to go to medical school.
Lori Hacking's family reacted with shock when told of the Web sites.
"It's a sad statement on society that people would buy this stuff," her brother, Paul Soares, told the News Monday.
Her mother, Thelma Soares, had "no knowledge of it and no interest in it," family friend David Gehris said.
It is hard to know if the merchandise being sold is really autographed by Hacking or if he is aware it is being sold, Utah Department of Corrections spokesman Jack Ford said.
"We don't know for sure if Mark Hacking is sending this stuff out to a friend. He may not know what's happening to it," he said Monday. "My guess is that if there's more and more out there, he probably is aware."
Calls by the Tribune to Hacking's attorney, Gil Athay, were not returned Monday.