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Why was the Hofmann Sentence so light? (Part 7)

Given all the mounting evidence against Mark Hofmann, why were prosecutors interested in a plea deal?  It seems evidence was pretty strong to convict him of a 1st Degree murder.  George Throckmorton tells of conversations between prosecutors and Hofmann’s lawyers.  Why was the Hofmann sentence so light?

GT:  I know he’s gotten a big stiff sentence anyway, even with second degree murder. Well, why did we plea bargain to second degree murder on this?

George: Politics.  It has always intrigued me. The amount of politics that takes place in everything, criminal investigations are the same thing.

George:  But because there was instructions made to settle the case period, it was settled before it should have been. And for instance, it’s normal in law enforcement if ever you make a plea bargain. The purpose is you get the confession from the person first and if that person cooperates, then you go in and recommend the plea bargain because if you made the plea bargain first, the suspect has no reason to cooperate and that’s exactly what happened with Mark Hofmann.

George:  But in retrospect, looking back at it, I do not criticize the attorneys that I disagreed with because as we look back, because he did confess, the FBI had to admit that they were forged and other people had to admit that he was a crook instead of an honest guy that we were framing, if you will. So overall it turned out okay.

Check out our conversation….

George Throckmorton tells why the Hofmann sentence was so light for killing 2 people.
George Throckmorton tells why the Hofmann sentence was so light for killing 2 people.

Don’t forget our other episodes with George!

174: Hofmann, LDS Leaders, & the McLellin Collection (Throckmorton)

173: Why Hofmann Killed his Best Friends (Throckmorton)

172: Who was the 3rd Bomb Intended For?  (Throckmorton)

171: More Hofmann Techniques & Forged Sports Memorabilia  (Throckmorton)

170: How Hofmann Fooled Experts with a Toy Chemistry Set (Throckmorton)

169: How George Became a Forensics Expert  (Throckmorton)

You may be interested in Curt Bench and Shannon’s Flynn’s interactions as well!

086: Would Hofmann Kill Again? (Flynn)

085: Should Hofmann Ever Be Released from Prison? (Flynn)

084: Shannon Goes to Jail for Hofmann (Flynn)

083: Hofmann’s Last Bomb Blew the Lid off Mormon History (Flynn)

082: Hoffman’s Best Fake:  Fooling the Lie Detector Test (Flynn)

081: Mark’s Million-Dollar Con (Flynn)

080: “I Cheat People.  That’s What I do for a Living.” (Flynn)

079: Hofmann’s Teenage Forgeries (Flynn)

042: Hofmann Bombings Effects on Mormon History (Bench)

041: Should LDS Leaders have Detected Hofmann’s Fraud? (Bench)

040: Curt Bench’s role in Hofmann Bombings Court Case (Bench)

039: Bomb Day 2:  Other Targets? – Oct 16, 1985 (Bench)

038: Bomb Day 1:  2 Killed – October 15, 1985 (Bench)

037: White Salamander Letter & Other Forgeries (Bench)

036: Bombs in Salt Lake: Introduction to Mark Hofmann (interview with Curt Bench)

 

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Hofmann, Church Leaders, & the McLellin Collection

As you can see from our previous conversations, Mark had a tangled web of interactions.  In this next conversation with forensics expert George Throckmorton, we’ll talk more about Mark’s dealings with church leaders.  What got Mark in hot water with church officials?

GT:  He had an appointment with, I believe it was Elder Oaks, Elder Pinnock. I don’t remember who all.

George: Elder Pinnock was the one that was dealing with him quite a bit.

GT: Yeah. And so, so can you a little bit about what was the relationship between Mark Hofmann and Elder Pinnock?

George: Business. Elder Pinnock had a history. In fact, I’ve known him. He was my wife’s bishop when we got married and so I’ve known him. I knew him for a long time before this and he was, you know, as much a victim as anybody.

It turns out this Mark Hofmann was trying to give more credence to the Spaulding Theory, which states that Sidney Rigdon got a copy of the Spaulding Manuscript, gave it to Joseph Smith, and Joseph plagiarized the Book of Mormon from Solomon Spaulding.  The problem has been, there has never been any connection between Joseph Smith and Solomon Spaulding.  However, Mark tried to solve that problem with a forgery with a new collection known as the McLellin Collection.

George:  There’s an old theory called a Solomon Spaulding theory. Are you aware that?

GT: I am aware of that.

George: Okay. But one of the problems, it’s never been given much credibility. They think that Solomon Spalding wrote it.

GT:  Wrote the Book of Mormon.

George:  And Martin[1] just copied the Book of Mormon, but there was really no relationship between Solomon Spalding and Joseph Smith that could be found. So, it’s not given a whole lot of credit. I mean there’s always people that bring it up, but my opinion is not given credit because they never met until too late, until this land deed showed up. And it’s a land deed that was signed by Solomon Spalding and Martin Harris. So, it showed there was a relationship between Solomon Spalding and Martin Harris and the date was appropriate. And this is the document that Mark Hofmann showed Hugh Pinnock and Al Rust and some others, and he says this is part of the McLellin Collection.

Check out our conversation….and don’t forget our other episodes with George!

Mark Hofmann hoped his forged McLellin Collection would give credence to the Spaulding Theory.
Mark Hofmann hoped his forged McLellin Collection would give credence to the Spaulding Theory.

173: Why Hofmann Killed his Best Friends

172: Who was the 3rd Bomb Intended For?

171: More Hofmann Techniques & Forged Sports Memorabilia

170: How Hofmann Fooled Experts with a Toy Chemistry Set

169: How George Became a Forensics Expert

Please help support Gospel Tangents by becoming a paid monthly subscriber.  To hear the entire interview uninterrupted, become a patron at https://www.patreon.com/Gospeltangents

[1] George was referring to Martin Harris, but he meant Sidney Rigdon.  In a future interview with Steven Mayfield, you can see the forged land deed with Sidney Rigdon’s forged signature.

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Why Hofmann Killed his Best Friends (Part 5)

Mark Hofmann was a successful document dealer in the 1980s.  Why did he kill?  Document Examiner George Throckmorton gives his insights into the Hofmann case, and why Hofmann killed.  Mark forged the first printed work in America, Oath of a Freeman.  The sale of the document was supposed to fetch between $1-1.5 million, but the sale was going slowly.

George:  He makes a second Oath of a Freeman. He actually made a third, which he was trying to sell them in Brazil, but I don’t know how many people knew that. The second one he sells to somebody up in Idaho and I’m not going to describe him. I know it’d be interesting, but if I describe him, there might be a lot of people that know who it is. But there’s a fellow up in Idaho and he sells it to him for $100,000.

He gets $100,000 and then later on the person up in Idaho, he sees where they got the Oath of a Freeman back in New York. And they’re selling it and he says, “This isn’t an original that I purchased. Hofmann told me it was an original.” So, he called him on the phone, and he says, “So is this isn’t an original.”  He actually meets with him and says, “This is not an original document, is not worth $100,000. I want my money back.” Mark doesn’t have any money. And apparently an argument ensued or something.

And Mark gets physically assaulted. This was the first time in his life, we know of, that somebody actually physically assaulted him. Before he’s dealing with, what do they call him, Mr. Milk Toasts. You know, historians are generally laid back, calm person. I don’t know anybody other than a couple that hollered at me. But most of them I don’t think they do. And nobody had ever hit him before. He had bounced checks on him. He would lie to them about documents and that. And it was well known. He was like that. But they wanted to go back to him because he could provide the documents they wanted. He took orders for documents frequently and miraculously found them. But anyway, this guy up in Idaho, he beat him up. Hofmann didn’t know what to think. Nobody’s ever hit him before and he’s a coward. That’s why they bomb. Because you don’t have to be there when somebody gets injured. And, so anyway, the guy says, “I want my money back and I want it next Monday,” or whatever it was. Now what is he going to do? Now this is speculative, but it seems to make sense from the bits of pieces of puzzle that we put together.

He says, “What can I do so he won’t come after me and hit me anymore?” And he’s thinking, you know, “If one of my best friends die, I’ll have an excuse to go to his funeral and he won’t come back. He’ll give me a few days. By then the Oath will be sold back there.” And in fact, I think it was the American Antiquarian Society was meeting to discuss purchasing it again on Tuesday or Wednesday of that week. We know that because we saw the agenda for the meeting. And again, I don’t know how many of the other investigators saw this, but we did. That’s why this is another piece that we had that others did not, so that day of either Tuesday or Wednesday is crucial because that’s when they’re voting to buy it. And Schiller & Wapner convinced him they’re going to buy it so he knows he’s going to get it. So, he needs to postpone just a couple of days before this guy comes back and beats him up again. And so, we found in his possession a three by five card that had five of his closest friends written, their names written on it in Mark’s handwriting. And by the name of Steve Christensen was an asterisk. We’re assuming that he put the asterisk there. But anyway, so it was one of his five closest friends he had to kill so he could go to their funeral. The bombs came up. Steve Christensen was blown up and of course the second bomb was a diversionary thing for the police department, which they believed for several days that they were involved, not in the Salamander Letter, but involved in financial dealings down in Las Vegas.

The irony of that is the news media didn’t believe that. They kept putting Salamander Letter. So, what is Hofmann hearing about that the police are investigating Las Vegas or are they investigating the Salamander Letter? All he sees is the Salamander Letter. So, he’s a little concerned more and then he gets a call from the guy and he says, “Hey, you got to wait for a couple of days. My best friend got killed and going to his funeral.”

He says, “I don’t care. I want my money back. And if you’re not around and coming after your family.”

Check out our conversation….

Find out why Mark Hofmann killed his best friends.
Find out why Mark Hofmann killed his best friends.

Don’t forget to check out our other interviews with George!

172: Who was the 3rd Bomb Intended For?

171: More Hofmann Techniques & Forged Sports Memorabilia

170: How Hofmann Fooled Experts with a Toy Chemistry Set

169: How George Became a Forensics Expert