Murder Among the Mormons (2021) s01e02 Episode Script

Episode 2

I moved to Utah around 1974.
I'd been thrown out of college already,
as an undesirable,
with a 0.6 GPA.
And, uh, I moved out here to ski.
And that was just my raison d'être.
It was more like,
I was a skier
that happened to be a lawyer,
as opposed to
a lawyer that happened to ski.
So it's just me
drinking wine in the evening
and having to run in the morning two miles
so I can get to work
and at least be a little bushy-tailed.
Come on.
We've got everybody else.
I had worked with Gerry on cases.
Quite a character.
I know what you bought that for, Gerry.
For porno.
-That's right.
He's brash. He's outspoken.
-But he's gotta practice so he gets good.
We looked rather professional.
He doesn't fit the Salt Lake City mold.
This is Mike George.
Just about to get
some fantastic information.
Gerry was on the arson team,
and bombs fell under arson.
And, uh, Monday, Monday evening,
oh, I drank a little bit,
so I'm a little hungover coming into work.
The radio was on,
and I heard that there was a bombing,
and I knew that that was
probably gonna be assigned to me.
One of the things
that I did remember mentioning
is that,
"It's a beautiful day for a bombing."
A lot goes on in the first couple
of hours of the investigation that,
as a prosecutor
that might have to argue the case,
you want to see everything,
get a picture of it.
-Went to the Judge Building.
Doors are blown open,
debris scattered all over the place.
I walked right over to Steve Christensen,
and he was lying there.
His, uh, chest had been ripped apart.
And I just kind of stood there
for a while and took the scene in,
so that it would form
a mental impression for a later date.
Investigators were gathering evidence
when they got word
of the second explosion.
The scene was
the Holladay home of Gary Sheets,
a former business associate
of Christensen's.
Within the hour,
there was a call
that another bomb had exploded.
I went over,
and there's Kathy Sheets lying there.
-At this stage of the game,
we're worried.
We got somebody running around,
planting bombs.
We don't know who it is,
we have no suspects,
and we were rather worried
that somebody else
might get injured or killed.
At the time, I didn't know anything
about the history of, uh, Mormonism.
I didn't know anything
about any Mormon documents.
I knew nothing about what deals
were gonna be going on.
Knew nothing about the Church.
But when Mark Hofmann was bombed,
I learned my Mormon there.
Mark Hofmann lies
in critical condition at LDS Hospital.
Witnesses say his body was badly mangled
when his car exploded today.
A witness said he rushed
to his aid and gave Hofma nn a blessing.
He was wearing the LDS garment,
and, uh, I took out my oil,
uh, consecrated oil
that I usually carry with me,
and I commanded him to live
and that proper medical help
would get to him quickly, which it did.
-You commanded him to live?
-I commanded him to live.
Investigators searched
Hofmann's bombed-out car,
found documents
possibly belonging to Hofmann.
We started getting
into a lot of Mormon documents
going on with Mark Hofmann.
We're starting to learn such things
as there's Salamander letters out there.
Last year, Hofmann sold a document
known as the White Salamander letter,
to the men who were
the apparent targets of the first attack.
The valuable and controversial
letter suggesting that the Mormon Church
was founded on doctrine
delivered by a spirit
in the form of a white salamander.
There was the McLellin Collection.
When officers searched
Mark Hofmann's car
and found a collection believed to be
early Mormon historical documents.
They're the McLellin Collection,
books, diaries, revelations
from the era of Joseph Smith.
They're rumored to concern
the origins of the Mormon Church.
Yes, there are a large number of,
what we feel, very expensive documents
in the automobile and found in the trunk.
That's when we started
realizing that the Church was in play.
And that something's
really, really wrong here.
For the last several months,
Hofmann has been telling associates
that Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor
in the LDS Church's First Presidency,
had agreed to buy the so-called
McLellin papers for $300,000.
One thing appears certain.
Alvin Rust, the man who describes himself
as Mark Hofmann's silent partner,
believed Gordon Hinckley
would be the buyer.
When we interviewed Gordon Hinckley,
I asked him,
"Is there some record you have
of your meetings with Mark Hofmann?"
And he said,
"No, I don't keep anything like that."
Which I found very, very hard to believe.
We have followed the normal,
accepted and professional procedures
employed by collectors generally,
which have been legal
and ethical in every respect
insofar as we have been able to determine.
It became apparent that the Church
was hindering our investigation.
The official Church response said
the Church hasn't suppressed information
but has been open
about its dealings with Hofmann.
President Hinckley said
the Church acquired some 40 documents
through Mark Hofmann since 1980.
Mr. Hofmann indicated he had access
to what he called the McLellin Collection.
People who wanted to protect the Church
didn't want
this document to come to light.
-And it could've given a lot of reason
that Mark Hofmann
would be murdered over.
Mark Hofmann is undergoing
surgery tonight at LDS Hospital.
Police are keeping a close watch.
Welcome to Haus Hofmann.
I'm William Hofmann,
and this is my wife Lucy,
Lucille Sears Hofmann.
We're here tonight to
We're gonna talk a little bit about our
uh, recollections of our life,
and what else?
What's happened to us up to now.
Hope we have a few more years to go.
So let's take off our coat
and get to work.
Mark Hofmann was raised
in a very faithful, devout Mormon home.
In Utah,
the whole culture around him
would have been
everything relating to Mormonism.
Be faithful and true in the gospel.
It was a very controlled,
religious environment.
This is when Mark
got his Eagle Scout award.
We were really proud of him.
He was 14 years old.
This is Mesita Pepita Winky.
She was our dog.
We had her
This is Dorie and Mark
on their wedding day.
They were married in the Salt Lake Temple.
I got married when I was almost 21.
He picked me up.
We drove to the temple.
His family was close.
His dad was really strict.
Being raised LDS
is an interesting experience.
Mark told me about, uh, his father, Bill,
coming over to the home one night
and saw some
children's books on the floor,
and they were books about dinosaurs.
And he became visibly upset
that they would have books
that promoted evolution.
Those were very fundamental core issues,
and that was his dad.
Our Father in Heaven
has much love for us.
We had some beautiful experiences
in our lives.
Mark grew up in a time period
when many young people,
if they differed
from their parents on something,
didn't necessarily show it.
So Mark followed
the normal Latter-Day Saints tradition,
where young men in particular
advocated for the Church
on what was called a mission.
When we are preparing to go on a mission,
and all of us were out,
away from our homes for the first time,
it's a questioning time for everyone.
A lot of the early missionaries
from the Church in the 1800s
had spent time in the Manchester area.
And so there were lots of libraries,
used-book stores,
and it was really a great place
to look for old Mormon literature.
And Mark explained to me
how he was able to walk into a bookstore
and very quickly
identify any books
that were important to him.
He knew what size they were,
what colors they were,
if it was a book that was beat up,
didn't have a cover on it.
And that's where Mark found
many of the old, rare LDS books
that were there.
In England, you could still find
19th-century pamphlets and books
that would be hard to find
in the United States.
And some of the materials that existed
in England attacked the Church.
So Mark began to read
the anti-Mormon publications,
and was beginning to create a narrative
in his mind of the Church and its history
that was different from the tradition.
When Mark explained to me
some of the topics
that he was researching,
he realized there were
a lot of false narratives propagated
by some of the brethren
to hide the truth.
And he was asking me,
"What do you think
about lying for the Lord?"
He kept a box under his bed,
in which he kept materials that were
not necessarily friendly to the Church.
He would tape the box up,
and he would put his signature
across the tape.
He was worried about somebody
opening the box without him knowing it,
and he did that constantly throughout
his mission, sending books like this.
You got copies of the stuff?
What we need.
We're gonna do the whole thing.
We took a conference room over,
and we kind of called it the "war room."
-Are you on hold?
-I'm on hold.
God bless America.
It was where we would all kick theories,
evidence amongst each other
and formulate a lot of our decisions
on how we're going to go about things,
who to interview, where to go.
How do I shut it off?
Press the same thing.
Early on in the investigation,
other people that were involved
with the Church,
as well as the document community,
were coming to light,
and all of those people
were potential suspects.
Brent Metcalfe is a research historian
of Mormon documents.
Well, the way that the police put it to me
is everyone's a suspect until they aren't.
And so, of course,
I'm going to be on the list.
I hope you'll forgive me
for asking a very blunt question,
but it's one that needs to be asked.
Did you have anything to do
with the bombings yourself?
Uh, no, uh, that's
That's not a
It's a blunt question,
but one that I've been asked
fairly frequently since all this began.
And, not at all.
Steve Christensen was one of the most
loving people you could ever meet,
and I just can't even imagine
the type of mindset
that would be needed to do the type
of brutal killings that have been done.
-And you don't know who might be involved?
-No, I don't.
This will be a taped conversation
taking place at the office
of the Salt Lake County Attorney.
Interviewee will be Brent Metcalfe.
Early on, I was interviewed
more than you can possibly believe.
Going on to tape number three, side A,
a continuation
of Brent Metcalfe's interview.
This is tape number seven
of the interview with Brent Metcalfe.
Tape number 13
And that's why I had to go in
and take a lie-detector test.
And I passed, of course.
Let's see, who else was there?
People like Al Rust,
who had helped finance
the McLellin Collection.
I thought the Church had it.
They thought I had it.
The police would come in every day
and asked every question from A to Z.
I wasn't aware of it
until I called the LDS Church.
They said they couldn't tell me everything
but shared little things
that they were doing getting evidence.
I didn't even know why.
I think that there were
some of us that they basically
kind of removed from the list.
Shannon wasn't.
Um, Shannon Flynn is in our studio.
Shannon, would you stand up
for a second, please?
Now, you are a close associate
of Mark Hofmann's
and involved
in some of his business dealings.
I have to ask you
the same question I asked Brent.
Are you involved in any way
in the bombings?
In no way whatsoever.
It's only been a few hours,
but what do we know about Flynn?
LDS Church historians say
they never bought anything from Flynn,
but that he was often seen with Hofmann
when Hofmann had business
with Church officials.
Flynn says he was with Hofmann as late as
10:00 p.m. the night before the bombings.
Explain to me,
you were with him
the night before the bombings.
-Was not.
-You were not?
No. No.
Do you know what Mark was doing
the night before the bombings?
When was the last time
you saw Mark prior to the bombings?
Well, my mind's very thin,
but it could have been during the daytime.
But a phone call or see him,
but I don't know.
So that's possible, sure.
Do you have any idea who is involved?
Are Mormon documents in the middle of it?
Personally, I don't think so.
I think this is an exercise in futility
upon the part
of the law enforcement community.
They've spent a large amount of time
investigating an interesting subject,
but one that I don't think necessarily
has anything to do with the murders.
Do you have any idea
who is involved in the bombings?
Behind it?
Well, if I did,
I'd be the first one to tell.
I have no idea.
The problem that I had
with people like Shannon is,
most of these people are gonna
tell you only what they want to tell you.
They're not necessarily going to be
forthright or tell you the truth.
Flynn's knowledge of the business
led investigators to believe
he may be involved
in the bombing deaths of two people.
I was being interviewed
on the Friday night after the bombings,
and I was there for hours.
I was trying to convince them
that I didn't do anything.
Over the last year,
family and friends say
Shannon spent a lot of time
with this man, Mark Hofmann,
collecting and selling
LDS historical documents.
I knew Shannon was very much
into Soldier of Fortune type of things.
And he was very good
with a butterfly knife.
I remember Shannon showing me
how to use one one night.
Uh, but Shannon was probably
one of Mark's closest friends.
And I had a sense that he knew information
about Mark's document dealings and so on
that others of us didn't know.
At that time, I was working
with Mark full time for a living.
I always carried a briefcase in those days
because when he was dealing,
the amounts were in $185,000, $330,000.
We're talking big,
and especially for 1985,
big numbers.
Mark had purchased a Toyota MR2.
He wanted to go fast in that car
and pushed that thing
as fast as it would go.
And in those days,
I had a real interest in firearms.
Mark gave me the money to purchase an Uzi.
And that bucker fired full auto.
For two Utah boys,
that's as dangerous
as we've ever been in our lives.
And the police questioned me
quite closely on this lifestyle.
I didn't realize I should have said,
the moment I walked in that door,
"I want an attorney."
The first criminal charge
to emerge from an investigation
into last week's
fatal bombings fell today.
Flynn was charged with possessing
an unregistered firearm today
in federal court.
Police arrested Flynn early Saturday
when a search of his home
turned up an Uzi.
He's 27-year-old Shannon Flynn.
Police Chief Bud Willoughby says
the predawn search
of Flynn's home also turned up
some, quote, "incriminating evidence
in the bombings."
I became the number one news item.
Investigators also seized
a book known as The Anarchist Cookbook,
which details, among other things,
how to make homemade bombs.
But Flynn's attorney
said the evidence is circumstantial
and not proof any bombs were made.
They said,
"What do you know about this book?"
I said, "Well, I mean, I've read it."
Flynn is facing a federal charge
of possessing an illegal weapon.
This really rang the alarm bells
in that police department that night.
They got the chief of police,
Bud Willoughby, out of bed.
'Cause they'd just found Jack the Ripper.
Chief Willoughby said he hoped
the search of Flynn's storage garage
would reveal the location
of where the pipe bombs were made.
Explosives and/or other materials
that a bomb could be manufactured from.
Shannon Flynn
was interesting in the sense that
he came across as a person
who wanted to be something that he wasn't,
in the sense of
James Bond, machine guns, bombs.
Flynn is facing a federal charge
of possessing an illegal weapon.
He's free on $50,000 bond.
Attorney James Barber
said there is no evidence
Flynn participated
in last week's bombings.
He suspects
Fairly early on in the investigation,
my attorney suggested
that I take a lie detector test.
And it's on a zero-centered scale.
If you score somewhere in the middle,
it's kind of, "We can't tell."
By the time you get to a minus six and up,
definitely untruthful.
Plus six and up, definitely truthful.
I scored a plus 12.
The search of a locker
rented by Flynn, this afternoon,
yielded no further clues.
After a thorough probe,
they found nothing.
What does this mean
for the investigation?
It means we'll just press on
and look for other leads.
That was a problem.
And, um, we didn't know
where to turn at that point.
It's difficult
to encapsulate a case like this
within an hour's worth
of, uh, direct examination on one witness.
It was not a panic,
but it certainly was something where
we did not have enough information
to be able to have a handle on it.
Flynn did say his arrest
arose out of police attempts
to make something break in the case.
I'm just a little pawn in a very big game.
And I just got crushed in the traffic.
Meanwhile, Hofmann continues
to improve slowly at LDS Hospital.
Today, his doctors upgraded his condition
from serious to satisfactory.
Now, by then,
we also have people in the Judge Building
who had some impact as witnesses.
A witness saw a strange man
lingering at the downtown Judge Building
at 6:45 on October 15th.
He could not identify the man.
He was kind of clean-cut.
He had like a high school
athletic jacket on,
without the letter on it.
The actual, uh, fabric
on the jacket was green and
There was a potential witness
talking about a person going up
to see Steve Christensen with a package,
early in the morning,
with a green letterman's jacket.
The man took an elevator upstairs,
but he did not know to which floor.
Just brown wrapping paper,
and up in the left-hand corner
was the name of, "To Steve Christensen."
And this is starting to get around now,
this green letterman's jacket.
I had watched the news,
and I saw where they mentioned,
uh, the person on the elevator
was wearing this green letterman jacket.
And I recognized it
as the same type of jacket that Mark wore.
So we went back to the office
and started making a search warrant
for Mark Hofmann's house.
As the intrigue deepened, the two victims
from Tuesday's bombings were laid to rest.
Kathy Sheets was eulogized
as a compassionate woman
and remembered
for her silent acts of charity.
A thousand people
or more attended the service.
Mrs. Sheets was a graduate
of the University of Utah
and taught school
before becoming a full-time mother.
Friends describe her as fun-loving
with a great sense of humor.
She is survived
by her husband and four children.
After the bombings,
Mark was released from the hospital
and able to come home.
It was a relief to have him home.
I was really happy to have him home.
And the kids were happy.
The neighbors were very supportive.
We had a poster
on our window of our house.
I know the faith that family has,
and that is what is gonna get
the family through this.
To the north in Davis County,
neighbors mourn another victim,
Steve Christensen.
Christensen is survived
by his wife, Terri, and three sons.
Was church interest
part of Steve's motivation?
I'm sure it was.
He was a kind, gentle, uh,
very compassionate person.
He was always thoughtful of other people.
And I don't know of anyone
who didn't love him.
What time in the morning is it?
Let's see.
It's 7:30.
So we were sitting around
in our living room,
having that feeling inside me
that everything's gonna be okay,
enjoying being together as a family.
And life would be back to normal.
And, you know,
our little 15 minutes
of fame would be over.
And we'd be back to normal.
It's beyond me
why someone would do what they did.
You know,
leaving bombs for people to pick up.
A kid could pick that up, a toddler,
a friend of one of my kids.
People that do this, uh
I can't comprehend that mind,
why they would do it.
I don't know why anyone would
want to kill me. I've no idea.
Talking to Mark,
I knew something was wrong.
But I didn't know what was wrong.
don't have to stand up
It's like something's-something's off.
Okay. Goodbye.
Two o'clock.
He'll make his announcement?
These two men came in the door, and
I just remember them asking me
Asking me for the keys to the house,
and asking me for the code to the alarm.
Then the police say,
"We need to search your house.
Your husband is a suspect in this."
How could that be?
There were friends of Mark
who had contacted the police
once they learned
of the letterman's jacket.
And we applied for and received
a search warrant for Mark's residence,
which was executed later that night.
By 6:00, a swarm of city and county
law enforcement officials
were going over the Hofmann home
with a fine-tooth comb.
Do we know what we're really looking for?
Yeah, I know a few things.
I know there's a green letterman's jacket
I'd like to find out if it's there.
I'd like to see if there's
anything relating to bombs.
Searchers went
through books and manuscripts,
the documents accumulated by the collector
suspected of being a murderer.
Um, I don't believe that we found
anything having to do with bombs.
But we did find
the green letterman's jacket.
Well, if it was up to D'Elia,
they would have arrested Mark
the night of the search warrant.
But I kept saying,
"What's your motive?"
For more than three hours,
officers sifted through boxes
and collected evidence they hope to use
in their case against Hofmann.
In all, more than 30 containers
and boxes of evidence were collected,
so much that a truck
had to be called in to haul it away.
Speculation has centered around
whether the man witnesses say they saw
carry the bomb into the Judge Building
is the same man as Mark Hofmann.
That jacket could have been from anybody
who'd graduated
from Olympus High School.
Could've been purchased
at a second-hand store.
So there were still a lot of questions
that needed to be answered.
The press has rushed
to bring you every development
in an energetic police investigation.
Now, just in time for the evening news,
there is a suspect.
But the rapidity with which
things changed from yesterday
should give us pause tonight.
This isn't a mystery story
with a quick, clear, satisfying ending.
We don't know what happened.
We shouldn't jump to conclusions
They would hope
for a nice clean bombing case,
to find some bombing parts,
to be able to show
where he'd purchased them,
how he had the skill to put them together.
And instead, they found,
uh, Latter-Day Saint history
and documents that only nerds cared about.
There were more documents
than we had anticipated.
We were learning that Mark
had all of these business deals
that needed to be looked at.
The first time
I met Mark would have been 1984.
Mark told me that he was
very well respected by the Mormon Church
for all the documents he was finding.
And at this point,
he had gotten involved with things
which are not Mormon-related.
First editions, history, Americana.
So I said,
"What sort of things are you finding?"
Hi, this is a long-distance call.
Can I please speak with someone
who is in charge
of acquiring material for your archives?
New York City in 1984.
A quiet, unimposing
Mormon documents collector from Utah
says he found something amazing
in this Manhattan bookstore.
He had been to Argosy bookshop
during his trip to New York
and bought a couple of pieces of paper
that interested him.
And one of them
was called The Oath of a Freeman.
The first document
printed in the New World.
The so-called Oath of a Freeman,
discovered by Hofmann,
is purported to be the first
printed material in colonial America
People had looked for it,
it had been reprinted in textbooks,
but, uh, the original sheet of paper
had never been found.
If you'd be interested in it,
around the price that I just quoted,
then I'll-I'll gladly fly out there too
and let you take a look at the original.
This is an original?
Yes, this is an original copy.
Oh, for heaven's sake.
And, so, the next time
he came to New York,
I looked at it, and the paper felt right,
printing looked right.
I said, "It looks remarkable."
In my mind,
this is one of the most important, uh,
historical documents of our country.
One of the things
that we ended up doing with The Oath
was sending it out
to California for a cyclotron test.
Tests are being conducted on a document
to see whether the ink
on that piece of paper is 300 years old.
they bombarded it
with high-velocity protons,
which gives them an accurate analysis
of paper and ink.
I started to realize,
this is going to be
an expensive procedure.
And I was expecting, uh,
maybe a 5% or 10% commission.
But Mark, uh, said,
"Oh, no,
if you could authenticate the document,
we'll be 50% partners,
each of us."
And I was staggered by his generosity.
Marketing The Oath with Hofmann,
attorneys for the gallery,
Schiller and Wapner
Mark and I agreed
on the price of $1.5 million.
But I had to caution everyone,
it's only worth that
if it turns out to be real.
And we're far from that road.
There's a lot of things
that need to be checked and verified,
and this was just the beginning.
In New York, Mark had become
close enough with Justin Schiller
that he always rolled out
the red carpet for him.
And Mark let loose in New York.
He did things
he would never, ever do at home.
Somebody else at the table
was ordering an alcoholic drink,
and then Mark could be coerced,
which I realize
is somewhat against the Mormon creed.
But Mark had told him
it was impossible for him to get drunk.
No, that just
That is not humanly possible.
"Okay, I'm gonna have a double vodka."
He'd pound that thing down.
"Double whiskey. Another one."
And I want to mention,
I did no drinking.
Just watched.
Anyway, within an hour,
15, 16 doubles.
Straight, neat.
Justin Schiller said, "Say you're drunk."
And he said, "No, I'm not."
So he said, "Stand up."
Mark did.
He said, "Walk around this table."
No wobble, no waver.
Now, the back end to that story is,
we finally went up to our room.
He went in the bathroom
and just puked himself green.
This is coming
from a person who never drank.
He grew up Mormon, so it's not normal.
So Mark lived this lifestyle of kinda,
"We'll do some business, flash some cash,
and we'll drink our heads off,
and then we'll sober up and go home."
Back to the regular Mormon life.
There's Michael and Daddy.
And Mommy over there,
taking pictures of ya.
He liked to film the family.
"Yuppie" was the term at that point,
when you had all the techy things
and all the fancy stuff,
and it was a big deal at that point,
in the '80s, to have a camera.
Oh, you took a few steps!
You tried to, anyway.
He would like to take people to dinner,
go to expensive places
-and buy expensive things.
-Uh-oh. You dropped it.
I think part of it was upbringing.
It's LDS culture, you want to look good
for the people around you.
And there was something
with him about status,
and something about having things,
having expensive things,
that was important to him.
In a 1982 interview
with Sunstone magazine,
Hofmann said he was
in the business to make money.
Mark had taken on
a much higher living standard
than he'd known before.
He was flying back and forth
to the East Coast all the time.
He would promise a document to one guy.
He'd get something sold,
pass that money to the other guy.
Hofmann's finances are murky.
Just this summer,
he negotiated to buy a $600,000 house.
The deal fell through.
In early fall of 1985,
there would be feast or famine,
lots of money and then no money.
And I just remember a lot of phone calls.
Please leave a message after the tone.
Then I would tell Mark,
"This person called. They're upset."
"Oh, that's not a big deal.
Oh, they're not a problem.
-Oh, I'll take care of that."
So, what I remember mostly
is just the disconnect
between what I was experiencing
and what he was telling me.
I'm gonna get you.
I'm gonna get you.
Get you, get you, get you.
Mark was in debt to a lot of people.
But Mark Hofmann
had a lot of money out there
that was going to come to him.
Big money.
The Oath of a Freeman
was reportedly going to be sold
for $1.5 million.
So Mark Hofmann had no motive for murder.
During the investigation,
there was a polygraph that was released
by Mr. Hofmann's attorney, Ron Yengich.
They don't have sufficient cause
to charge my client
with what they keep saying that he is,
i.e. the prime suspect in the bombings.
But they've got to show the public
they're doing something.
Mark's polygraph was plus 14.
That's the highest number
I've ever seen in my career.
Hofmann's claims of innocence
were documented for the first time
when he passed a lie detector test.
I was just so disappointed
that nothing was coming out
of the investigation.
Based on my personal acquaintance
with Mark
and my experience in knowing him
over the last two years,
I-- I have a great deal of doubt
that, uh, Mark is involved
in any way at this point.
We already had these people murdered,
and yet,
other people's lives were being destroyed,
and reputations being destroyed.
And so, I embraced the notion
that somebody had tried to set Mark up.
I talked to a collector,
one of Hofmann's competitors,
and he said, "I'm not sure Mark did it,
maybe it was an accident.
Maybe there's somebody
out to get document collectors."
Neighbors could not believe
he's a suspect in the bombings.
I can't comprehend
that the Mark that I know
is capable of doing the bombings.
I feel like Mark has been crucified.
I think he's a victim.
So completely out of character
with Mark Hofmann.
The general opinion of the public,
what I got, was,
"You got the wrong guy.
You're lousy prosecutors.
You don't know what you're doing.
You're lousy investigators."
The public has a right to know.
You don't understand how effectively
you can eliminate
the rights of an accused.
Motive is what we needed.
Motive is what we did not have.
Hofmann's family says he has
never been in any kind of trouble before.
Hofmann was an Eagle Scout
We need to look somewhere else.
I think it's come to the point
where they've probably
got to charge him with something,
whether they have something or not.
Mark is definitely not a murderer.
I know he's not a murderer.
From the very beginning,
our prayer and our hope was that
the truth would
Would be known.
Whatever it was
that the truth would come out.
And we-- That's still our prayer.
I got a call.
This is about third or fourth party.
Woman by the name of Becky Cutler Gunn,
used to live by the Hofmanns.
I was in the war room seven days a week,
sometimes up to 16 hours a day.
I was not in a place that I wanted to be.
Do we have any idea how much?
But this is a type of case that you had
to cross every "T" and dot every "I."
And so we decided to go through
the evidence one more time.
At the search of Mark Hofmann's house,
there were many, many items
that, at the time,
meant very little to us.
We were looking to find
anything out of the ordinary.
And there was a piece of paper
that had a business called
Cocks and Clark Engraving
and the name "Mike Hansen."
I need to figure out who is Mike Hansen.
And I traced it back
But more importantly,
how is this related to Mark Hofmann?
So we dialed the number and said,
"This is Mike Hansen,
and I need a receipt for my taxes."
And he said,
"Sure, Mr. Hansen, I'll send it to you."
We got the receipt.
It was a plate for Deseret currency,
made up at the engravers,
which was something
that Mark Hofmann was dealing in,
and he could use it
to actually make a forgery.
That turned this investigation
completely around
and completely into a different direction
than we were going.
Mike is gonna show us
the Salamander letter does not fold.
Because if these documents,
like the Salamander letter
or The Oath of a Freeman, were forged,
that's an absolute motive
for Mark Hofmann to commit murder.
Investigators are now turning
to the next big question, why?
The possible answers are sending
shock waves through the LDS Church.
Police chief Bud Willoughby
said the Church has been "beaten up on."
And as far as he's concerned,
it's not fair.
We have not discounted forgery involved.
That could very well turn out
to be one of the possible motives
Police are looking at bombings
to cover up an elaborate forgery ring
as a possibility.
Some of these documents,
including the Salamander letter
In another twist to this story,
the LDS Church today announced plans
to let the FBI run authenticity tests
on the Martin Harris
or so-called Salamander letter.
The Church took the Salamander letter,
and they shipped it off to the FBI.
They did make this request
uh, so they could authenticate
the Martin Harris letter
by their own methods,
and we've agreed.
Which was a very big deal
because the Church, at first,
didn't want to get to the bottom of it.
The FBI will attempt to determine
if the letter is genuine or a fake.
We need to investigate these documents.
And in order to do it,
we went out and got
one of the best document examiners,
probably throughout the world.
The reason I got into forensic science is,
I don't deal with people.
And I disassociate myself
as much as possible.
The one thing that I've always done is,
if an attorney hands me a document
and tells me it's genuine,
I go about the examination
trying to prove that it's not.
If somebody tells me a document is forged,
I go about my examination
trying to prove that it's genuine.
Purchase a lot of these documents
And so we invited George
to meet with us.
And he asked me,
"What do you know about the documents?"
And I said,
"All of the experts are telling us
that they're authentic."
Out of curiosity,
I began researching one of the people
that authenticated the Salamander letter.
I still regard it as valid,
for the reason that, uh,
to change my mind at this point
would fly in the face
of the careful work
that was done to authenticate it.
I realized
he was not a document examiner.
He was a historian,
and that made me suspicious.
Now, George Throckmorton
is a good Mormon too.
and we need to get Throckmorton
right on as soon as they get it
From a credibility standpoint of view,
George Throckmorton said,
"I want somebody else in here, too."
Well, one day I was sitting peacefully
at my desk, uh, in Arizona,
at the state crime laboratory,
and the phone rang,
and it was George Throckmorton.
And he said, uh,
"What religion are you, Bill?"
That was a rather unusual intro.
Uh, I said, "Well, I'm kind of
a non-practicing Catholic."
And George Throckmorton said, "Perfect."
I knew how difficult it was
to create a document today
and make it look like it was 15 years old.
In this scenario,
George had said some of these documents
were supposedly 150 years old,
ten times that long.
So I was certain that,
in the case of the Salamander letter,
there would be some flaw.
There would be an anachronism
or an anomaly,
or we would be able to prove
that the writing was forged.
They sat down and really
went to town with these documents.
We went through
how the documents' papers were cut,
how the ink was, how letters folded.
If you can find
that one anachronistic characteristic,
something that says
this paper was manufactured in 1890,
but the date of the document was 1830,
game, set, match. You have it.
-They wanna talk to you.
-I do nothing. I
When Bill first came, he thought
he would be here a week.
As it turns out,
I had grossly underestimated
the amount of time and effort
it was going to take
to show whether these documents
were genuine or not.
This is KSL Television,
Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Oath of a Freeman,
purported to be the first document
printed in early America.
Experts tested The Oath on a space-age
machine called a cyclotron at the
We had The Oath of a Freeman
tested for the paper,
studied by nuclear examination,
and, uh, each of the exams,
it came up with the verification
that the document was correct.
The Oath of a Freeman appears
to have passed a key test of authenticity.
Mark Hofmann shares
ownership of the document,
along with a New York dealer
It was all a very exciting experience,
and we're now a 50% owner.
And the sale
of The Oath of a Freeman was pending.
They were going to take
The Oath of a Freeman
and exhibit it
at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
So this was trouble, obviously.
'Cause it's just
one more piece of evidence
that's just not going our way.
Meanwhile, there was a call from the FBI.
One of the investigators says,
"We got the report back from the FBI
on the Salamander letter.
It's genuine."
The FBI has reportedly
concluded there is no reason to believe
that the Salamander letter is a phony.
The FBI Laboratory
had authenticated the Salamander letter.
We all had a horrible reaction to it.
I mean, it ruined Christmas for us.
It didn't--
In-In the face of it, we just went on.
It was just one more piece of shit
that we have to deal with and
There came a time in the examination
where I felt it wasn't going to work.
Where we just
weren't going to be able to get
that hard evidence
that we would need to testify to.
Let's watch some TV.
He liked the Dallas show.
I think Mark used the character JR
in Dallas as a role model.
I just want you to know, JR,
I'm gonna nail you.
Haven't you noticed?
You gotta be a man to play in my league.
How bold he was in his actions,
and how he would look good on the outside,
but underneath what he would do to people.
I knew there was a reason
I liked that boy.
He's just about the best liar I ever met.
With the exception of myself, of course.
The police theory that Hofmann was forging
documents comes as a real surprise
to the community
of scholars and collectors
who work with Mark Hofmann
When the evening news would come,
he absolutely loved
Loved it.
Police searched his car and home.
They found old paper and ink
that could've been used
in forging documents.
Hofmann is the prime suspect.
He says,
"I recognize one person there on TV."
They would be talking
about him being a suspect,
about what was happening with him
in the investigation, in the news.
He just
He reveled in that.
Don't cry.
The FBI has reportedly
concluded there is no reason to believe
that the Salamander letter is a phony.
The fact they have not filed today
anything related to the bombings
means they've got a weak case.
-Speculation has centered around motives.
Why would Hofmann kill
business associates and friends?
That's still unknown.
I think, uh
I don't know what it is
they wanna do with the ink.
I'm not sure what--
This is printing ink, you understand?
This is carbon-based ink.
You don't wanna mess with the FBI.
And yet, I disagreed with them
on the Salamander letter.
In fact, I was almost a little bit angry.
After examining it
under various degrees of magnification,
under various lighting sources,
from ultraviolet spectrum
to the infrared spectrum,
every way possible,
I was feeling quite comfortable
that something was wrong,
and they should've found it.
George Throckmorton said,
"I'm shocked about how shallow
their analysis has gone.
We need to go further."
After 110 hours of examination
on the documents,
I started noticing that some of the inks
had a cracking effect on the ink itself.
And some of them did not.
And I didn't know why.
In order to test
whether what we were seeing was actually
a real phenomenon or not,
Mr. Throckmorton and I began
to hand one another documents
to look at microscopically.
And we had them separated into two groups.
One of which we know Hofmann had handled,
and the others were documents
we knew had been in the Church
long before Mark Hofmann was even born.
There would either be evidence
of the ink cracking or not.
And depending,
he would say "not Hofmann," or "Hofmann."
And we started to see this pattern.
Every single document that Hofmann
had handled had that cracked ink.
George and Bill explained to us,
"We're looking at ink that's cracked."
That led to other questions.
We had that receipt
to Cocks and Clark Engraving,
in the name of Mike Hansen,
that had been seized
at Mark Hofmann's house.
If Mark Hofmann was a forger,
where else
could he have made printing plates?
-What you got on The Oath
-Paper's probably okay.
that's gonna be the kicker we can
And there were two places,
Utah Engraving and DeBouzek Printing.
Went to DeBouzek
with The Oath of a Freeman.
The printer picked it up,
looked at it, and he said,
"A person by the name of Mike Hansen
asked to have this plate made."
Printing on this portion of the press,
which is called the platen,
and this is where the paper will be put
And he said, "Mr. Hansen paid us in cash.
He was a couple of bucks short.
He had to complete the transaction
with a personal check."
That personal check
was in Mark Hofmann's name.
Oh, Markie Poo,
if you could only see me now.
Moment of truth.
Looks great!
That was a big discovery.
This is an absolute forgery.
I think it's time for a beer.
We had come full circle.
There was cracking in the ink.
And the check proved that Mark Hofmann
had used the name Mike Hansen.
And now we found what,
to us, was the Holy Grail.
The Oath of a Freeman
the one document
that Mark Hofmann could use
to buy him out of this entire mess
he had gotten himself into,
-was now a forgery.
Prosecutors say
the killer is Mark Hofmann.
He's been accused of massive frauds.
But until today, we did not know
just how much fraud there's been.
Prosecutors say he swindled associates
out of more than half a million dollars.
I looked him in the eye, and he indicated
he hadn't done the bombings.
It hits you hard, really hard.
He's been lying to you.
I remember hearing Mark say,
"I hope they catch
the bastards that did this."
And it's like, little did I realize
I was sitting next to the bastard
that did this.
He was juggling
two giant deals at the same time,
for the so-called Oath of a Freeman
The so-called McLellin Collection
Police say the papers don't exist.
No one can say that they've ever seen
the McLellin papers.
The Bureau is charging Mr. Hofmann
in regards to the bombings.
At that point,
this whole house of cards
that Mark Hofmann had built
began to just completely fall apart.
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