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S P E C I A L The Unabomb Trial

Kaczynski smiles, laughs in court

A court sketch

Six more potentials jurors questioned

November 14, 1997
Web posted at: 12:18 a.m. EST (0518 GMT)

SACRAMENTO, California (CNN) -- Jury selection continued Thursday in the trial of accused bomber Theodore Kaczynski. Six potential jurors were questioned in the second day of the process, as Kaczynski listened attentively and conferred with his attorneys.

Kaczynski, dressed in a sport coat, wore what appeared to be heavy reading glasses at one point to examine a document. He smiled and talked with his attorneys, even appearing to laugh when one potential juror admitted he had seen media reports of the trial after the judge had told him not to.

The self-described "news addict" said he was unlikely to avoid such reports in the future.

After court, Kaczynski's lawyers spoke briefly to the media. Asked how active Kaczynski is in his own defense, attorney Quin Denvir said, "I think the question of how we deal with our client is probably something we ought to keep to ourselves. It's private and privileged."

"He's participating in it," Denvir said.

Kaczynski is accused of being the elusive bomber who carried out a violent 17-year anti-technology campaign, killing three people and maiming 28 others with bombs he planted or mailed.

Jurors quizzed on death penalty

The defense attorneys

Judge Garland Burrell asked jurors if they would assume that Kaczynski could be "clothed in the presumption of innocence" when the trial began. Some potential jurors expressed the belief that Kaczynski is probably guilty, but said that they could put their feelings aside and weigh the evidence alone.

One woman on the panel broke down in tears when asked if she could vote for the death penalty.

"Are your feelings so strong that you could not sign a verdict of death no matter what the circumstances?" Burrell asked. "I could not sign something that would result in a person's death," the woman replied, dabbing her eyes.

Prosecutors moved to excuse her for cause, and the defense agreed. Federal law requires that jurors in a possible death penalty case must be open to voting for a death sentence, but also willing to consider alternatives.

The juror who admitted to following the trial in the media was excused for cause, as was a woman who said she would suffer financial hardship if she had to miss work to serve on the jury.

Jury selection is expected to take about a month, as the judge and lawyers whittle down a pool of 600 potential jurors to 64. Lawyers will then exercise their peremptory strikes -- which, unlike strikes for cause, require no specific justification -- to arrive at 12 jurors and six alternates who will hear the case.

Defense prepares mental illness defense

While jury selection continued inside the courtroom, court documents revealed more maneuvering by the defense to establish a mental illness defense. Defense psychiatrist Dr. David Foster wrote that Kaczynski is a paranoid schizophrenic with a brain disorder that impairs his thinking and behavior.

Foster also said that delusions of mind control and annihilation by the forces of technological society plague Kaczynski and dictate his actions. He also has a fear of being labeled mentally ill, and of psychiatric examinations.

Foster's statement was in response to government efforts to block a mental illness defense until Kaczynski submits to an evaluation by prosecution psychiatrists, which he has refused to do.

The Unabomb Trial

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