Related topics

Kaczynski Given Four Life Sentences

May 4, 1998 GMT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ Passing up his chance for a public forum, Theodore Kaczynski rattled off a few complaints and told everyone to stay tuned for his explanation of the Unabomber’s 18-year siege.

``I ask only that people reserve judgment on me and the Unabomber case,″ Kaczynski said shortly before he was sentenced to four life terms.

Kaczynski, a 55-year-old former mathematics professor turned woodland hermit, lashed out at prosecutors for ``discrediting me personally″ and lying about his anti-technology philosophy.

``At a later time, I will respond at length,″ he said.

Survivors and families of the Unabomber victims said they hoped they would never hear from him again.

``The greatest punishment you could get is to be put away and never heard or seen again,″ said former timber lobbyist William Dennison, whose name was on a package that killed his successor, Gilbert Murray.

The outcome of Monday’s sentencing was never in doubt: U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell Jr. gave Kaczynski four life sentences plus 30 years, as spelled out in a plea bargain reached in January. Kaczynski’s plea spared him the death penalty and a trial in which his lawyers planned _ against his will _ to portray him as deranged.

In imposing the sentence, the judge said, ``The defendant committed unspeakable and monstrous crimes for which he shows utterly no remorse.″

Burrell added that he feared Kaczynski would try to kill again if not closely watched.

The Unabomber, so named because he targeted university professors and airlines as well as others in his anti-technology terrorist campaign, killed three men and injured 29 others in 16 attacks between 1978 and 1995.

The attacks ended with Kaczysnki’s capture at his Montana shack in April 1996. He was caught after his brother notified the FBI that Kaczynski’s letters bore a resemblance to the Unabomber manifesto published under pressure in The Washington Post.

The plea bargain covered the three deaths and the maimings of two scientists. As part of the plea bargain, Kaczynski acknowledged responsibility for all of the Unabomber attacks.

He will be sent to a high-security federal prison, possibly in Lompoc or in Colorado.

In court papers last week, the government submitted excerpts from Kaczynski’s journals in which he scoffed at any supposed environmental ideals.


``I believe in nothing,″ Kaczynski wrote. ``I don’t even believe in the cult of nature-worshippers or wilderness-worshippers. (I am perfectly ready to litter in parts of the woods that are of no use to me _ I often throw cans in logged-over areas.)″

Of his killings, Kaczynski wrote: ``My motive for doing what I am going to do is simply personal revenge.″

On Monday, Kaczynski complained that the sentencing memo contained ``false statements, misleading statements.″

``By discrediting me personally, they hope to discredit my political ideas,″ he said.

But the families of the victims said politics had nothing to do with the Unabomber’s actions.

``He’s diabolical, evil, cunning, a murderer,″ said Susan Mosser, whose husband, Thomas Mosser, died before her eyes in New Jersey after he opened a bomb sent by Kaczynski.

``Lock him so far down that when he dies he’ll be closer to hell, where the devil belongs,″ she said in addressing the court.

Six of the Unabomber survivors came forward to describe their grief, pain and anger. Most sat in the witness box, face-to-face with the man they addressed as ``Ted″ and denounced as the personification of evil.

``I lost my innocence to this man, and I fight daily to find the carefree happiness ... that was taken from me,″ sobbed Gary Wright, who was maimed by a bomb he opened in 1987 in Salt Lake City and still finds shards of shrapnel in his skin.

Geneticist Dr. Charles Epstein, who lost some of his hearing and part of his hand in a Unabomber attack, bitterly addressed Kaczynski’s decision to accept a plea bargain, calling him a coward out to save his own neck.

``I reject the notion that your mental state excuses what you did,″ he said. ``By some convoluted form of logic, you were portrayed as a victim of a prosecutor who would see a deranged man put to death.″

Epstein’s wife, Dr. Lois Epstein, also a Harvard-educated physician, invoked the biblical precepts of her Jewish faith. For those he blinded, she said, ``may your eyes be blinded by darkness to the incredible beauty of the sun, the moon and the stars.″ And for those who lost their hearing, ``may you become deaf as your eardrums implode from stony silence.″

``And may your eventual death occur in the way you lived, in a solitary manner, without compassion or love,″ Mrs. Epstein said.

David Gelernter, a Yale University computer scientist who lost part of a hand, did not appear. He sent a written statement in which he said Kaczynski should have been put to death.

``We took the easy way out,″ he said, ``by deciding to let him live. ... He is in the same category as plague and cancer, creating widows and orphans.″

He and other victims praised Kaczynski’s brother, David, for turning in his brother. During the hearing, the defendant never looked at his brother.

Afterward, David Kaczynski stood outside the courthouse and offered the regrets his brother would not.

``To all of these good people, the Kaczynski family offers its deepest apologies,″ he said. ``We are very, very sorry.″