The possibility that Mark Hacking could get out of a Utah prison in just five years for killing his wife sent shock waves through the community, says the Salt Lake Tribune. In reality, Utah murderers – whose fates rest with a five-member parole board – almost always spend more than 15 years behind bars. Still, the state Sentencing Commission wants to allay the public’s fear that a killer could get out sooner. The commission recommended yesterday increasing the penalty for first-degree felony murder from five-years-to-life to 15-years-to-life. The plan has been dubbed “Lori’s Law,” after Lori Hacking, who was shot to death by her husband then disposed of in a trash bin in July 2004.
Lori’s father, Eraldo Soares, who believes husbands who kill their wives should face harsher penalties, told the commission he was devastated to learn that Hacking faced a minimum of just six years – five for the murder and one for using a firearm. Even after learning that most Utah murderers never leave prison, Soares said he worried that Hacking might wield his considerable powers of deception on the parole board. “Mark is the biggest liar,” Soares said. “He can sweet-talk. He could come out on parole in seven, eight years.” In July, the parole board said Hacking will spend at least 30 years in prison before it considers him for release.