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Remembering Shannon Flynn (Part 4 of 5)

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[1] 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?

[1] The book Salamander discusses many aspects of the Hofmann bombings and forgeries.  See http://amzn.to/2yt9OfN

Shannon Flynn was arrested but cleared in the Mark Hofmann crimes.

Here are links to our full conversation.

088: Christmas Party Plea Deal

087: Mark’s Unusual Prison Visitors

086: Would Hofmann Kill Again?

085: Should Hofmann Ever Be Released from Prison?

084: Shannon Goes to Jail for Hofmann

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

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

081: Mark’s Million-Dollar Con

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

079: Hofmann’s Teenage Forgeries

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*Apology to Dorie (Part 13 of 13)

There are many people who wondered how Mark Hofmann hid his secret life of forgeries from his own wife Dorie.  Brent Ashworth was among those.  In our final conversation with Brent, he tells how he came to realize Dorie was duped like everyone else, and how he apologized to Dorie for his beliefs about her.

Brent:  I always thought Mark was using his wife, that she was in on some of this, because she was so near to it. I was kind of taking it out mentally on his wife, on Dorie for those years. Finally, it dawned on me. It takes me a little while. But finally, it dawned on me that she was just as much in the dark as the rest of us were, even though she was right next to him, and that I’d been kind of blaming her or I shouldn’t have blamed her for any part in it. I felt guilty. I thought, “I need to go apologize to Dorie.” So, it was 1990, it was 3 years after Hofmann’s gone to the slammer. I went up to her house and it was the same door.  She was behind the screen [door,] and I think she was a little surprised to see me.

Remember, to check out our conversation, you need to sign up for our free newsletter.  If you’re not already signed up, go to https://GospelTangents.com/newsletter to hear the final part of our conversation with Brent Ashworth.

By the way, if you would like to visit Brent’s “museum”, here is how you can set up an appointment.

Brent loves visitors. Just give him a call so you can check out his amazing collection!

 

Brent Ashworth gave an apology to Dorie for believing she was involved in Mark Hofmann’s crimes.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Brent!

512:  Emily Dickinson Forgery

511:  Hofmann’s Court Mistake

510:  Tragedy Before Hofmann Trial

509:  Catching More Hofmann Forgeries

508:  Brent Called Salamander Letter Fake

507:  Hofmann’s Motive Against Church

506:  Why 3rd Bomb wasn’t Suicide Attempt

505: McLellin Collection Offers

504: Lucy Mack Smith Forgery

503: Mark’s Unknown Half Million$ Deal

502: Hiding from Hofmann

501: Meeting Serial Killers

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Emily Dickinson Forgery (Part 12 of 13)

The Emily Dickinson forgery was briefly touched on in the Netflix documentary.  It turns out that Brent Ashworth played a critical role in identifying that forgery.

GT:  So, basically what you’re telling me is Mark offered that back to you in 1984, I believe it was.

Brent:  He offered it to me in ’84. He knew that was my favorite poet. That was manufactured for me, I’m just sure.

GT:  Okay.

Brent:  Nobody else knew about it. It ends up, 13 years later.

GT:  But you read it and said..

Brent:  I told Mark, it’s horrible. I said, “It looks like her writing to me.”  I didn’t question the fact that she’d written it, but I didn’t want it. I’m not going to spend $10,000 for a poem that I think’s the worst one she’d ever written. I didn’t know Hofmann had written it. Now, it makes perfect sense because of Hofmann’s ideology, “God doesn’t care about us, so we don’t care about him.” That’s kind of [Mark’s attitude,] which is not the way Latter-day Saint people that love Emily Dickinson know about her writing.

GT:  Right. So, essentially, he sold it to somebody else.  It floated around the US and then ends up in the Sotheby’s catalog.

Brent:  What happened was that Shannon Flynn had taken it down to Todd Axelrod for Mark [Hofmann].  Todd Axelrod was this dealer down in Nevada.  There used to be autograph stores in about six big malls around the country. There was one that I visited years ago in the Galleria Mall in Dallas, Texas. There was one, as I recall, in Florida. There was one in Philadelphia.  There were six big malls around the country. Todd began in Las Vegas at the Showplace Mall, right on the strip. That’s where his first store was. That’s where Shannon Flynn took that and a few other things to him, before the Hofmann bombings and all that. It’s interesting, so you might ask Shannon about it sometime. He carried that stuff down there.

Find out how in our next conversation with Brent!  Do you think Axelrod sold it without disclosing that it was affiliated with Mark Hofmann?

Brent Ashworth recognized the Emily Dickinson poem as a Hofmann forgery, offered to him in the 1980s.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Brent!

511:  Hofmann’s Court Mistake

510:  Tragedy Before Hofmann Trial

509:  Catching More Hofmann Forgeries

508:  Brent Called Salamander Letter Fake

507:  Hofmann’s Motive Against Church

506:  Why 3rd Bomb wasn’t Suicide Attempt

505: McLellin Collection Offers

504: Lucy Mack Smith Forgery

503: Mark’s Unknown Half Million$ Deal

502: Hiding from Hofmann

501: Meeting Serial Killers