Thelma Soares spoke with The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen Monday.
Mark's guilty plea to first-degree murder charges in a Salt Lake City courtroom came nearly nine months after Lori vanished, prompting a massive weeklong search. Police say Hacking killed his wife after she caught him lying about being accepted to medical school. Her remains were found months later in a Salt Lake City landfill.
When Mark Hacking is sentenced two months from now, he faces six years to life in prison.
"But when he stood and I heard him say, 'I intentionally shot Lori in the head,' you know, time stopped there for a minute. It was very emotional," she said, choking back tears.
Still, Soares says she's happy Mark's plea deal means there won't be a trial. "That would have been very, very difficult," she says. "So I'm pleased that he finally has taken accountability and responsibility for his acts. I wish he had done that sooner. But, I guess now is better than not at all."
Soares adds she has "a notebook full" of questions for Mark, first and foremost of which is, "With all the alternatives that you had, as your zero hour approached, why did you choose to kill Lori? What made you think this would be an answer to your problems?"
Chen asked why Soares brought a picture of Lori to court Friday.
"It was about Lori in my heart that day, because on the 22nd, here this week, we will celebrate her adoption day. It was on the 22nd of April, 28 years ago, that we got Lori. And this is just a very difficult time. This all came together and I just felt like I needed Lori close to me that day, so I just took her picture with me."
How will Soares mark that day?
"I don't know. It's a workday. …I certainly will be thinking of her. When they were children, they were always allowed to go do something that they wanted to do on their adoption day. We lived in Southern California, so they always wanted to go to Disneyland, of course, when they were children. Later on, they did other things. But I always called and told them 'Happy A-Day' and, as they got older, I would maybe send a little bit of money to go to dinner or something like that.
"So, it's going to be a difficult day. I will probably just have my normal workday and go on. But I will be thinking of her all day."