A Salt Lake book dealer has filed a claim against Salt Lake County and county attorney David Yocom on behalf of all victims of convicted murderer Mark Hofmann, seeking compensation for lost publication rights to Hofmann's story.
Sam Weller, owner of Zion Book Store, 254 S. Main, is seeking damages for the county's public release of transcripts of 32 hours of interviews that authorities conducted with Hofmann as part of a plea bargain.The release of the transcripts without a copyright made the transcripts public property and thus deprived Hofmann's victims of any compensation that could have come from the sale of the transcripts' literary, television or film rights, the claim alleges.
No specific damage amount is sought, but the claim alleges Hofmann victims have lost more than $1 million in potential royalties based on sales of book, TV and movie rights for similar crime stories.
Hofmann pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of theft by deception for the Oct. 15, 1885, pipe bomb deaths of Steven F. Christensen, 30, and Kathleen Webb Sheets, 50, to cover up a scheme involving foregeries of early LDS Church historical documents.
As part of a deal that allowed him to escape a possible death sentence by pleading guilty to lesser charges, Hofmann agreed to reveal details of his forgeries to authorities. A record of those 32 hours of interviews with Hofmann was released to the public last July.
Weller wanted the literary and film rights of the Hofmann interviews sold and the proceeds given to him and other victims who were bilked out of as much as $1 million in Hofmann's bogus-document deals.
Hofmann owes Weller $14,000 for a bad check.