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S P E C I A L The Unabomb Trial

Kaczynski loses his temper during hearing

Kaczynski
Kaczynski   
Latest developments: November 25, 1997
Web posted at: 11:28 p.m. EST (0428 GMT)

SACRAMENTO, California (CNN) -- Unabomb defendant Theodore Kaczynski angrily threw his pen across a table and slammed down his reading glasses Tuesday while lawyers discussed his refusal to undergo court-ordered psychological testing.

Kaczynski's outburst came during a hearing that was held after jury selection ended early for the day with the dismissal of six potential jurors.

As defense attorney Gary Sowards was speaking, Kaczynski began writing feverishly on a yellow note pad and put the notes in front of defense attorney Judy Clarke.

Kaczynski seemed especially agitated when prosecutor Robert Cleary, referring to Kaczynski's refusal to undergo government testing, said it was "because he's afraid of psychiatrists."

"Psychiatrists!" Kaczynski muttered at one point. Clarke whispered to Kaczynski and touched his arm in an attempt to calm him.

U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell Jr. didn't seem to notice Kaczynski's behavior, but U.S. marshals guarding him leaned forward, poised to step in if he became violent. He didn't, but they kept their attention riveted on him for the rest of the session.

Kaczynski's refusal called 'willful'

The 55-year-old Kaczynski is charged with mailing or placing bombs that killed two men and wounded two others. He faces a separate trial stemming from a third death in New Jersey.

The issue of psychiatric testing has been hanging over jury selection since Friday, when the judge asked both sides to settle the issue outside the courtroom.

Cleary said government doctors were willing to submit questions for Kaczynski to answer in writing, or interview him by phone rather than in person. The defendant refused both proposals.

"He's not going to submit to testing by mental health professionals under any circumstances," Cleary said.

Burrell said he is convinced that Kaczynski's refusal to be examined is "willful," but that he would have to weigh "the degree of willfulness."

He said there is a difference between a defendant who evades testing "for tactical reasons" and one who refuses because of some mental defect. The judge said he was reluctant to impose "the ultimate sanction" sought by the government -- a total ban on any mental defect defense.

Mental defect issue still unresolved

The defense team says Kaczynski suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and is in denial about his illness. He was briefly examined by defense psychiatrists, but they say he dismissed them once they began probing too deeply.

The prosecution wants to prevent defense psychiatrists from testifying if Kaczynski does not allow government experts to examine him.

Despite Tuesday's hearing, the matter remains unresolved.

After a lunch recess, Kaczynski sat woodenly at the defense table, saying nothing and staring straight ahead.

The hearing came at the end of an unproductive session of jury selection in which seven prospects either pleaded hardship or said they were so adamantly for or against the death penalty that they could not weigh a sentence that conflicted with their views.

All but one were dismissed, and the remaining prospect was instructed to check on whether he could be paid for jury service.

The Unabomb Trial
 
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