In my last 2 interviews with Shannon Flynn, I learned a few gems that I didn’t know, like how the plea bargain came about.
Shannon: I was told a couple of years later, it was actually at a Christmas party that Ron Yengich and Bob Stott were at and they kind of just stepped to the side and said, “Ok, what if he pleads guilty?”
They kind of hammered out the basic idea right there.
Mark pled guilty 2nd degree murder, rather than first degree murder, and of course was spared the death penalty. Normally a person would get out of jail in 8-10 years for second degree murder. (listen here)
Shannon: I think Mark got as harsh of a sentence that he would have gotten had he gone to trial. I don’t believe a death penalty would have ever been agreed on with a jury, because he had no priors. He just didn’t fit that kind of multiple offender sort of thing. Now, the crimes were callous, heinous, and multiple. Maybe [they fit that criteria] but I don’t believe. If that had not been the case, he would have just gotten life in prison. Well he’s got that anyway.
I think the sentence—I think Ron did as good a job for him as he could have done because I don’t believe the prosecutors would have accepted anything less than at least the possibility of life in prison. He only had that on one of the counts. The way that plea bargain actually worked, he pled guilty on four counts: two counts of murder, and two counts of theft by deception. In the plea agreement they agreed to dismiss all other counts that they had brought and federal counts on the machine gun, and something about the Library of Congress I read. They dismissed all the rest of that so that the only thing that was pinned against him was the Utah charges and Utah State Prison.
What do you think? Do you support the death penalty? If you were on a jury, would you have sentenced Mark to the death penalty, especially if he admitted guilt?
I was surprised to learn that Shannon Flynn has visited Mark Hofmann in prison.
But anyway, not many people visit him. I did for a short period of time. Every time after that, he had been moved over to medium security and it was not a barrier visit. My point there was just to be friendly, be a nice person, let him have somebody to talk to, and see what I could find out. So I would ask him questions.
I wasn’t able to record anything. I couldn’t take a paper and pencil in, so what I would do is go out and sit in my car in the parking lot and write it down as fast as I could. That was where I found out about some of it because at some point somebody is watching and they think, how does he know about all this stuff?
It’s been in the ensuing years, in books, in talking with Mark, in talking with other people, that’s kind of how you found out about stuff, at the interviews they he did. I have a set of those. I went down to the county attorney’s office and bought a set when they were available.
But his most surprising visitor was Gary Sheets, the man Mark Hofmann tried to kill, but instead killed his wife. What do you think that conversation was like? Why do you think Sheets visited Hofmann? (listen here)
I was sitting in a plow today with GPS driving my tractor and finally had time to go back and listen to all of your interviews with Shannon. I really enjoyed them. Thanks to both of you.