Salt Lake County commissioners have rejected a Salt Lake book dealer's claim filed against the county on behalf of all victims of convicted murderer Mark Hofmann.
Sam Weller, owner of Zion Book Store, 254 S. Main, had sought compensation for publication rights to Hofmann's story that were lost when county attorney David Yocom in July 1987 publicly released transcripts of Hofmann's 32 hours of interviews with authorities.Weller had wanted to sell the literary, film and television rights to Hofmann's story to recoup money owed him and other victims bilked of as much as $1 million in Hofmann's schemes involving forgeries of early LDS Church historical documents. Hofmann owes Weller $14,000 for a bad check.
But the county's release of those interview transcripts without a copyright made the transcripts public property, depriving Hofmann's victims of more than $1 million in potential royalties, based on sales of book and film rights for other similar crime stories, Weller alleges.
Hofmann pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder for the Oct. 15, 1985, pipe bomb murders of Steven F. Christensen, 30, and Kathleen Webb Sheets, 50, who were killed to cover up Hofmann's bogus document deals.
As part of a plea bargain to escape a possible death sentence, Hofmann revealed details of his forgeries and the two murders to authorities during 32 hours of interviews.
Under Utah Law, the county's denial of the claim leaves open Weller's legal avenues for the filing of a civil suit.