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Hacking Pleads Guilty, Sentencing in June

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Today in a Salt Lake City courtroom, Mark Hacking pleaded guilty to murdering his 27-year-old wife and dumping her body in a trash bin in 2004. Hacking told the judge, “I intentionally shot Lori Hacking in the head with a .22 rifle on July 19.”

This guy is obviously a sociopath. He fooled his wife into believing that he had graduated from college and had been accepted to medical school in North Carolina, when neither was true. Investigators theorize that Hacking killed his wife when she uncovered his web of lies.

So the good news is that a murderer has been captured and will go to jail. But what is the minimum sentence you think Hacking can get for his crime, first degree murder? Go ahead, guess. Ten years? Fifteen?

How about six years. That’s the minimum sentence he could receive on June 6, although the prosecution will press for a life term. I’m not a fan of mandatory minimum sentences, but when lawmakers think a first degree murderer might deserve only a six-year sentence [in fact, the lowest term is 5 years, but Hacking used a gun, so an extra year is automatically added on], I understand them. Isn’t a six-year term more appropriate for manslaughter? Or embezzlement? Heck, Martha Stewart’s pal, Sam Waskal, was sentenced to seven years for insider trading.

I’m sure you’ll be relieved to learn that at least Hacking can’t get probation. The lead prosecutor actually had to make that point clear, that Hacking would indeed spend time in jail for the murder. But how much time? Well, that’s where the other “p” word comes in to play: parole. Hacking will be legible for parole after six years.

Of course, Hacking will probably be sentenced more than six years, if not a life sentence. He’ll still be eligible for parole in six years, but he probably won’t get out right away on that, either. But I still really don’t understand the sentencing guidelines on this charge. How can we have such wildly tame sentences for murder in some states, while in others, people who sell pot get locked up for 55 years?

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