I had an interesting conversation with Steve Mayfield on the subject of Mormons, Crime, & the FBI. Mormons have been both good guys and bad guys. In our first conversation, we discussed the Patty Hearst kidnapping from the 1970s.
Steve: I was there during a very well-known case, this little kidnap case you might have heard of Patty Hearst. I wasn’t an agent, but I was involved in that in the fact that I was assigned to the Berkeley Office of the FBI where the kidnapping occurred for about three or four months. Then I came back to San Francisco. I was there the day she was arrested and brought in.
After she was arrested, myself and other clerks spent a whole week booking in all the evidence and all the materials they picked up and I had an opportunity on two occasions to go out up sit in on the trial. And I sat a couple of rows right behind Patty and her attorney F. Lee Bailey.
GT: Oh really?
GT: The O.J. lawyer.
Did you know that it was a Mormon FBI agent that arrested Patty?
Steve: The supervisor of the squad that handled bank robberies and kidnapping was a guy named Brian Wheeler, who at the time of the kidnapping was a member of the San Francisco Sunset Ward bishopric. When they divided, and made a special squad of agents just to work on that case, one of the agents was a guy named Jason Moulton. He is LDS and he is one of the agents that arrested Patty Hearst and on the CNN special, he’s the FBI agent they interview on it. Jason retired about 15 years ago. [He] was the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI in Seattle.
We also talked about Steve’s career as a crime photographer and some of the high-profile cases he worked on.
Steve: I will say in the 25 years I worked with Salt Lake Police Department, I’ve been involved in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping. I did some photography and work on that; Lori Hacking murder; the little girl that was kidnapped and killed Destiny Norton. One of the things I’ve done for about 11 years was to document the activities of the protesters at General Conference.
GT: Oh, Kate Kelly?
Steve: Yep. Just the street. Preachers and things like that.
GT: Oh, the street preachers.
Steve: Because of the lawsuits that these folks have had against the city and the police department, it became necessary for us to document their activities to show that as a city, as a police department, we’re following federal guidelines of free speech and city ordinances. They were taking pictures of us and we would take pictures of them. And for 11 years I did it every Conference. So I don’t know what went on inside Conference Center, but I was out there with all the various groups and things. It was important enough that when they had the federal lawsuit here, my photos went to the federal court and they also went to the appeals court in Denver. They used my photos and defending the city.
Mormons & the FBI – I’ve often heard that the FBI likes to hire Mormons. Is that true? Steve Mayfied talks about being interviewed to work at the FBI.
Steve: But he asked me, he says, “Why I see you served a Mormon mission.” And he talked about Mormon agents he knew. My interview was 20 minutes. Five minutes was about my work and what I thought of the FBI. The other 15 was about Mormonism, my mission, and things like that. So that started up. Well, I got to know a lot of the Mormon agents there. In fact, two of the agents were in my LDS ward in Walnut Creek, California. But, I was told when they identify, “He’s a member of the tribe.”
“What do you mean a member of the tribe?”
“He’s LDS.” That’s how we would identify ourselves.
We will also discuss Mormons killed in the line of duty at the FBI, as well as the only Mormon FBI agent to be caught spying for the Russians and talk about a religious discrimination case where Mormonism was a central issue.
Steve: One of the agents they brought up from L.A. was a guy named Richard W. Miller. [He was a] very interesting character because 10 years later he was first FBI agent arrested for espionage as a Mormon—as a Russian spy.
GT: As a Mormon, Russian spy.
Check out our conversation. Do you think the FBI likes to hire Mormons?