Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Genius Bomber: The Mormon Forgery Murders

It Doesn't Stop

The next afternoon, as the city was buzzing about the two murders, a florist went to deliver a shipment of tulips in downtown Salt Lake City.   He parked his truck in front of the McCune Mansion on North Main Street, just north of Temple Square.  He went down the hill to the Crossroad Mall, according to Naifeh and Smith, and had lunch.  Then he left the mall and went back up the hill, at about 2:45.  Halfway up, in front of the Deseret Gymnasium, he saw a white male of average height and brown hair open the door of a blue Toyota sports car.  The man leaned inside as if to grab or shift something in the passenger seat.  The florist passed by, looking away, and was then startled by a loud explosion.

He turned and saw smoke and debris in the vicinity of the blue car, some of it flying through the air.   The man whod been leaning inside was now lying on his back, legs bent, in the street, deathly still.  The florist went back to check him.  He saw numerous injuries, including a missing finger, a metal piece embedded in the knee, a bloody gash on the face and another on the chest.  The victim appeared to be covered with burns, his clothing torn, and since he wasnt moving it was not clear whether he was even alive. 

The car was burning.   Two other people arrived to help the florist drag the victim across the street, into a safer area.  The car was soon engulfed in flames, but not before the witness saw a cardboard box on the floor of the passenger side.  The top was gone, and there were crumpled papers in the back seat, but all of the contents were soon lost to the fire.

The aftermath of the blown up car.
The aftermath of the blown up car.

The victim was breathing, and people began to apply towels from the gym to his wounds.  It was clear that he wore his temple garments beneath his clothes, which required certain Mormon healing rituals to be performed.  

An ambulance and the police arrived, and investigators attempted to discover the victims name.   Three bombings in two days had to be the work of a serial killer, some mad bomber who was getting revenge for something.  They could only hope this man was connected to the others.

Victim of the car bomb rushed to hospital
Victim of the car bomb rushed to hospital

The victim was taken to the hospital.   He had sustained a number of injuries and burns along his right side, and lost his kneecap and a finger. 

The car was hauled away for close examination by a forensic bomb expert, who would determine if it was the same type of bomb as had killed the two earlier victims.

At the hospital, the police questioned the victim, whose name was Mark Hofmann, the Mormon document dealer.   He was conscious and surprisingly aware as he was being X-rayed.  Although he had trouble hearing, he agreed to answer questions.  He said he had been about to meet with an attorney in town representing a man to whom he was selling some documents.  He had gone to his car and seen a package on the seat, so hed opened the door, the package had fallen to the floor and exploded.

Hofmann seemed unable to recall what hed done all morning.   He was driving around a canyon outside town, thinking.  He didnt know where, he said, and wouldnt say what he was thinking about.  Yet he had told another officer that a brown pickup truck had been following him that morning, with a middle-aged white man driving.  He had not seen the truck when he had finally parked in town, but he was frightened enough over what had happened to ask the officers to warn some of his friends to leave town.

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