08/17/2004 AT 8:00 AM ET
A puzzled-looking and silent Mark Hacking, wearing a bullet-proof vest, showed up in a heavily guarded Salt Lake City courtroom Monday for a brief hearing to face charges of killing his wife after she confronted him over deceptions about his education.
The accused, in his first public appearance since being charged in Lori Hacking’s murder, was dressed in a yellow jail outfit and orange sneakers as 3rd District Judge William Barrett scheduled a preliminary hearing for Sept. 23, where Hacking will enter his pleas, the Associated Press reports.
His lawyer, D. Gilbert Athay, told the jurist that police were turning over evidence needed by the defense to prepare for the preliminary hearing. Lori Hacking’s body has yet to be found, despite police efforts to search a country landfill where Mark is said to have confessed to disposing of his wife’s remains.
Asked about any plea negotiations, Athay told reporters outside the courtroom, “We’re not even going there.” Deputy district attorney Robert Stott echoed the same sentiment.
Hacking, 28, is accused of killing Lori Hacking, 27, while she slept and then dumping her body in a trash bin, according to his confession to his brothers while he was in a psychiatric ward. Hacking was kept there for 13 days after he first reported his wife’s disappearance on July 19.
Stott said he was prepared to prosecute Hacking for murder even without a body or the .22-caliber firearm Hacking reportedly confessed to using. Hacking also has been charged with obstructing justice for throwing Lori’s body, the gun and a bloody mattress in separate trash bins.
No Hacking family members were present at the hearing.