GUNNISON — Mark Hofmann, convicted and sentenced to life in prison for one of the state's most notorious crimes, is no longer in maximum security.
Hofmann, 61, was moved 10 months ago out of maximum security at the Utah State Prison in Draper to the state prison in Gunnison, Utah Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke confirmed Monday. Hofmann had been in maximum security since arriving in prison in 1987.
Gehrke said the prison is constantly re-evaluating the inmates to make sure they are placed in the proper areas. In order for a person to be moved out of maximum security, an inmate must be deemed not to be a threat to himself, to staff members and to other inmates. Hofmann, Gehrke said, has had "virtually no behavioral management issues" since being incarcerated, although he has reportedly attempted suicide twice.
At one point, Hofmann was a cellmate with Dan Lafferty, a religious zealot convicted of two murders in 1984 in another of the state's most notorious crimes.
The prison also looks at the notoriety of the inmate when deciding whether to move that person to new housing. The publicity surrounding Hofmann has died down considerably over the past 30 years.
But in the fall of 1985, Hofmann terrorized the community when two bombs killed Steve Christensen and Kathleen Sheets. Hofmann was captured when another bomb went off in his own car that he was in. It was soon learned that Hofmann was a master forger, specializing in documents dealing with history from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also forged letters from Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone and Betsy Ross. He even penned an Emily Dickinson poem.
On Jan. 23, 1987, Hofmann plead guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and theft by deception, sparing himself a possible death sentence. He was sentenced to life in prison. He did not receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole, but the Utah Board of Pardons told him he'll never get out of prison.
By being moved to Gunnison, Gehrke said Hofmann will have some additional freedoms he didn't have while being locked up in maximum security, such as more recreation time and more access to other inmates.
"But it's still prison," Gehrke noted.