As 2021 winds down, we’re looking back on the life of Shannon Flynn. Shannon earned a degree in history from the University of Utah. He relocated to Gilbert, Arizona where he and Robyn successfully ran a small business for nearly two decades. He was a longtime member of the Mormon History Association and a published author. After a three-year battle with lung cancer that eventually metastasized to his brain, Shannon Patrick Flynn passed away in his Gilbert, Arizona home on Thursday, October 28, 2021. He discusses his role with Mark Hofmann. Check out our conversation from 2016. Please note, this conversation happened before his lung cancer diagnosis so his voice sounds normal. The surgery on his lungs damaged a nerve to his vocal cord, so that is why he sounds so raspy in Murder Among the Mormons….
GT: I understand that the book that I read that you actually spent some time in jail.
Shannon: That is correct.
GT: What was that all about?
Shannon: I was incredibly naïve, and maybe still am. But I was incredibly naïve and unknowing and when those bombs went off especially the one with Mark, I knew him really well, better than almost anybody else did, so I thought I could be helpful. I volunteered once or twice to go to the police station and tell what I knew and contribute some information
What I didn’t realize is the police were casting a very wide net on potential suspects and I got caught up in that net. At one point the police in an interview told me they were going to search my house. I said, “You’re going to find something there that’s illegal. There’s an automatic weapon and it’s an illegal one that actually belongs to Mark but it’s in a storage unit of mine.”
I was at one point arrested for possession of an unregistered automatic firearm, that’s a federal crime under the tax code, strangely enough, and so then I spent three days in Salt Lake County Jail and then was able to get bail, and get out and then never went back.
In that process I acquired a defense attorney and I now, at the time I didn’t realize this, but he suggested strongly that I submit to a polygraph. Now I know it’s because he wanted to know if I was telling the truth. But it could have been helpful to have me excluded. It didn’t exclude me for one second because the police, this was a huge deal, huge crime. They were not coming up with lead-pipe cinch suspects very quickly, so they were just going to do what they had to do to find somebody.
That became a charge that I could be charged with though I was never charged with anything to do with the rest of it. He suggested I do this polygraph and he knew about David Raskin, so he said, “Why don’t we do this?” That will help exclude you so I said “Sure.” We drove up to the University of Utah. I sat there and was all rigged up. It has six sensors going and all of that, $600.
GT: You had to pay?
Shannon: I paid.
GT: Oh wow.
Shannon: I paid, and I think in my attorney’s view, then he believed that I hadn’t had anything to do with it. But like I said, the police didn’t.
GT: The police didn’t care.
Shannon: They didn’t care.
GT: So the police still thought you had something to do with it?
Shannon: Somebody, and they didn’t care who it was.
GT: They wanted to hang somebody.
Shannon: Oh they had to. Lyn Jacobs was looked at carefully, I believe Brent Metcalfe was looked at somewhat. Like I said they were casting that net as wide as they could get it. It was still—because it all drove from the incredibility of the whole thing. No one believed that any one person could do all of those forgeries and build those bombs, and kill those people, all of that stuff. They just didn’t believe it. Even if Mark did it, they didn’t believe that one person could do it. There must be somebody else involved.
Of course they went through the normal police procedures. They found confederates, friends, whoever, and they applied whatever pressure they could because that’s a normal investigative technique because often evidence of a crime is not really readily available. A lot of times people are convicted on witness or complicit testimony, so they were looking for somebody to say, “Oh yeah, he did it, and I was there!” You know?
GT: They put a lot of pressure on you. Did they accuse you of being a co-conspirator or something?
Shannon: They did a number of things that to this day I will never forgive them for. Never! This plays into a little bit why this was difficult to imagine.
Did you watch Murder Among the Mormons? What are your thoughts?
Here are links to our full conversation.