Mark Hacking volunteered the alias "Jonathan Long" when a jailer asked him, "Have you ever used another name — that could be for anything?" He did not say why he adopted the name or how he used it and authorities did not ask, Salt Lake County Sgt. Rosie Rivera said.
Three days before Hacking reported his wife Lori Hacking missing July 19, police believe she discovered her husband had lied to her about being enrolled in a North Carolina medical school.
Police arrested Hacking on Monday on evidence including a bloody knife found in his bedroom, a discarded mattress and a reported psychiatric ward confession.
Hacking also allegedly told a "reliable" witness July 24 he had killed his wife as she slept and dumped her body in a trash bin, a court filing revealed Tuesday.
That tip, coupled with another from a neighbor and other evidence, are leading officers to believe they will eventually find the remains of Lori Hacking in a county landfill.
Their search through 3,000 tons of trash was to resume Wednesday night with the help of cadaver dogs.
It would not be unusual for a defendant to volunteer an alias during a jail booking, Rivera said. Hacking was booked Monday in a mental health wing of the Salt Lake County jail.
The jail has booked other Jonathan Longs in the past, but none are believed to have been Mark Hacking, she said. "We book 30,000 people a year, so the odds of people having the same name are pretty good," she said.
She said the other Jonathan Longs used various middle initials and had different dates of birth than Mark Hacking's, who was born April 24, 1976, the fifth of seven children to a respected Mormon family in Orem, Utah. His father, Douglas Hacking, is a pediatrician.
Jailers determined there was no criminal record under the name Jonathan Long and Hacking's date of birth, Rivera said. Hacking has no criminal history in Salt Lake County, she added.
A judge set Hacking's bail Tuesday at $500,000, Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom said. Hacking's attorney, D. Gilbert Athay, did not return a phone message.
Yocom said he still is reviewing the case and asked police to conduct more witness interviews.
The prosecutor said he was uncertain he could file charges in the 72 hours required by law after Hacking's arrest and may ask the court for an extension.
Yocom declined to say whether he would seek the death penalty.
Lori Hacking had told friends she was five weeks' pregnant, based on a home pregnancy test. If her body is found and the pregnancy is confirmed, prosecutors could add an additional murder charge.