The booby-trap bombing deaths of two Salt Lake-area residents and the forgery and fraud legacy of Mark Hofmann again took center stage on national television.
Three authors who wrote books on the bombings that rocked Salt Lake City and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints answered questions and exchanged literary criticisms Monday night on Cable News Network's "The Larry King Show."Linda Sillitoe, former Deseret News reporter and co-author of "Salamander: The Mormon Forgery Murders," and authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory Smith, who wrote "The Mormon Murders," answered questions ranging from the power of the LDS Church to the nature of the investigation.
Both books detail the multimillion-dollar fraud pulled off by Hofmann, the Oct. 15, 1985, deaths of businessman Steven Christensen and housewife Kathy Sheets, and the ensuing developments following the bombings.
Hofmann, 33, is serving two 5-year-to-life sentences on his guilty pleas to two counts of second-degree murder. He also pleaded guilty to two theft-by-deception counts in connection with the forged documents he sold the church.
The Utah Board of Pardons in January recommended Hofmann spend the rest of his life in prison.
Church leaders criticized "The Mormon Murders" for its suggestion that leaders of the faith attempted to cover up the forgeries in what Smith dubbed "the church's Watergate."
In a statement read by King, church officials contend the Naifeh-Smith book "contains scurrilous descriptions, accusations and willful misrepresentations of the actions and motives of leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
Sillitoe, who wrote the book with Allen D. Roberts, said "Salamander" tells the story and documents the history behind the forgeries and church involvement.