At Mark Hacking’s June 6 sentencing for the murder of his wife, Lori, he wept, pleaded for forgiveness and accepted full responsibility for the crime. But while the Salt Lake City hearing offered plenty of fireworks—including Lori’s brother Paul Soares’s lighting into Hacking’s professions of love for the spouse he shot in the head with a .22 rifle July 19, 2004—there was little in the way of answers. Why did he weave his web of lies about being accepted at med school? Why did he kill Lori when she found out? Said Judge Denise Lindberg before sentencing Hacking, 29, to six years to life in prison: “I’m not sure who Mark Hacking is, and I’m not sure if Mark Hacking knows who he is.” Utah’s Board of Pardons and Parole will determine how long Hacking ultimately remains behind bars, but his lawyer estimates that he will likely do 25 to 35 years.
Meanwhile both the Soares and Hacking families serve an indefinite sentence of their own—pain-racked, angry and puzzled. “It is still hard to wrap my mind and heart around this tragedy. The Mark I knew isn’t the Mark that did this,” Thelma Soares said before the sentencing. “…I will still see yard work that needs to be done…and I will think, ‘Mark can do that the next time they come over.’ Then it hits me there isn’t going to be a next time for either of them.”
Of her only daughter, a brokerage sales assistant who was reportedly five weeks pregnant when she was murdered, Soares says, “There aren’t words to express the magnitude of what it means to have her gone. Each day that passes makes one day closer to when I’ll see her again.”