Doralee Hofmann affectionately clasped the hand of her husband as he confessed to the Board of Pardons that he had used his wife to dupe document dealers and as he bragged about his handmade bombs used to murder two people.
The skewed scene within the confines of the Utah State Prison on the afternoon of Jan. 29 was unsettling.Mark Hofmann appeared calm, often cheerful, in his bright orange prison jumpsuit as he sat next to his devoted wife in front of the three-member board. The board would determine how long Mark Hofmann would remain in prison, based on his explanation of his egregious crimes.
Chairman Victoria Palacios asked Mark Hofmann, "You say in the deposition that you staged the discovery of the Anthon Transcript in front of your wife. Did you use her in any other ways in your criminal activity?"
His reply: "Certainly through socializing with potential victims, people I had in mind to defraud or whatever. She was very supportive, and no one would have guessed I was the kind of man I was."
Attempting to understand such blatant disregard for his wife, Palacios probed further.
"Didn't you feel any compunction using your wife in that fashion?"
"I felt like she didn't ask me questions about my business and I didn't volunteer information."
When the chairman asked Mark Hofmann if his marriage was likely to remain intact, the Hofmanns smiled at each other. Mark Hofmann answered, "I like to think so."
Less than eight months later, Doralee has filed for divorce. Three months from now, because the divorce is uncontested, she will be known by her maiden name, Doralee Olds.
Since Hofmann pleaded guilty to the Oct. 1985 pipe-bomb murders of Steven Christensen and Kathleen Sheets and to two counts of felony theft, the public has looked with puzzlement at the seemingly blind devotion of Doralee Hofmann to this confessed killer and forger.
Even after Doralee Hofmann heard her husband say aloud to the pardons board that "it didn't matter if it was Mr. Sheets, a child, a dog" that was killed by the handmade bomb he placed on the Sheets driveway - that "it was a game" - she embraced him with apparent affection as he returned to his prison cell.
Throughout the preliminary hearing, as evidence of Hofmann's guilt mounted, Doralee Hofmann maintained her husband's innocence. She couldn't understand why such terrible things were being said about the mild-mannered husband she loved.
During lie detector tests, Doralee Hofmann adamantly contended that her husband was with her at home the morning that the bombs were delivered because she had seen him. (In his prison debriefings, however, Hofmann told prosecutors he had come home at 3:30 a.m. after delivering the Sheets bomb. His wife asked him to take care of their daughter who was crying. When he did so, his wife became convinced he had never left the home.)
By filing for a divorce and changing her name, Doralee Hofmann reveals a side that has not been observed by the public. She has never granted an interview to reporters.
When reporters asked her for a comment, she would snap, "Mark's innocent. Period."
The supporting role she has played in the public eye - until now - is apparently characteristic of the docile position she accepted since her engagement to Hofmann.
At the beginning of their relationship, Hofmann established a clear role as being the one in charge.
The couple met while students at Utah State University. Hofmann was a pre-med student; Doralee Olds majored in home economics.
Before meeting Olds, Hofmann had been engaged to another woman but had broken off the engagement.
After her marriage in September 1979, Doralee Hofmann dropped out of college to support her spouse. Her desires were simple: to have many children and to be a good wife.
Linda Sillitoe and Allen D. Roberts interviewed hundreds of people who knew Mark and Doralee Hofmann for their book, "Salamander."
The authors report that soon after the couple was married, Hofmann convinced his wife that he could make a better living dealing in documents than he could if he became a doctor.
After they moved to Salt Lake City, the Hofmanns entertained friends at their home, hosting frequent parties.
"Visitors could clearly see that Dori was responsible for domestic matters. She kept the house clean, sewed, canned fruit and paid close attention to the children," according to the book.
While the Hofmanns enjoyed luxuries such as the hot tub, video recorder and Mark's sports car, the couple sometimes had to rely on their emergency food storage in their home's basement.
"Dori occasionally lamented that Mark would not even give her a few dollars for groceries, feeling entirely dependent on Mark and anxious about money," the authors write.
"Dori's criticism, voiced before company, led some to believe that the soft-spoken Mark was henpecked. However, her protests made little impact on his comings and goings."
Sillitoe and Roberts describe Hofmann as sometimes being curt with Doralee if she tried to assert herself.
"If he told her to take care of the baby or leave the room while he talked business, she complied, no questions asked."
- Jan Thompson