Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Tonya Papanikolas ReportingMark Hacking's family has said they believe he has the potential to help others and change his life in prison. So is it possible for a murderer to really turn his life around? Tonya Papanikolas met one prisoner with a similar story to Hacking's, and he offered hope.
Mark Hacking shot his wife in the head with a rifle. Twenty years ago, so did Jerry Auble.
Jerry Auble, Convicted Murderer: “I look back at what I did and am astonished and horrified.”
Auble also misled people after the crime, claiming his wife committed suicide, then changing his story to say the shots went off during a struggle over the gun.
Jerry Auble: “You lie and then the next lie is bigger, and that lie is covered by another lie."
Auble was convicted in 1986 and sent to prison for six years to life. He first thought no positive future could come from all the devastation he'd caused. But he slowly began to rebuild.
Jerry Auble: “I was here 13 days and was offered a job as a clerk. That got me out of a cell for a day for eight hours and kept my mind busy.”
Nineteen years later Auble is now allowed to work off-property, delivering prison-made products to different businesses. Wednesday Auble helped put up signs and arrange furniture at the new West Jordan courthouse.
Jerry Auble: "I think it gives us an opportunity to give back to the community a little bit."
Auble says many inmates at the state prison are trying to change their lives, and he believes in second chances. Prison spokesman Jack Ford says Auble has worked hard to gain his second chance.
Jack Ford, Dept. of Corrections: “The last 18 years, he's been a model inmate. He has not had a write-up, which is really unusual. He’s polite, he’s nice to the officers, does anything he’s asked to do.”
Auble has also taken advantage of prison programs.
Jerry Auble: “Lots of in-depth therapy classes, anger management, stress management."
Auble says he knows his case is similar to Mark Hacking's. Judging from his own experience, he says Hacking will have a long road ahead of him.
Jerry Auble: “It's very difficult to come here and face yourself."
For Auble it took years to confess his crime and realize the pain he caused. But he's proud of how far he's come. Jerry Auble will be paroled next year. He says he knows his wife's family will never forgive him and he understands why. At past parole hearings they said they didn't want him released.