Unabomb trial halted; jury dismissed for day
January 5, 1998
Web posted at: 3:27 p.m. EST (2027 GMT)
SACRAMENTO, California (CNN) -- The jury in the trial of Unabomb suspect Theodore Kaczynski was dismissed for the day
Monday afternoon after a surprise effort by the defendant to
address the packed courtroom.
The proceedings earlier had been temporarily halted before
opening statements could begin when Kaczynski asked to make a
U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell Jr. immediately adjourned
the trial and called Kaczynski and his defense attorneys into
the judge's chambers for a private meeting.
Court had been called into session at 8:04 a.m. (11:04 a.m.
EST). Opening statements had not begun when Kaczynski made
Kaczynski, who could face the death penalty if convicted of two fatal bombings, spoke calmly and deliberately, first telling the judge that he couldn't stand up because federal marshals told him he had to stay seated.
Kaczynski's mother, Wanda, and his brother, David, arrive at the courthouse Monday
Then, the former math professor turned recluse said: "I want to make a statement."
Clutching a manila envelope in his hands, Kaczynski said he wanted to read something he had written to "address the issue of my attorneys." At that point Burrell adjourned the trial.
Last month, Kaczynski had met twice with the judge in an attempt to fire his defense attorneys in a dispute over whether they would argue that he was insane.
Suspect ignores family members in court
Defense attorneys arrive at the courthouse Monday
As Kaczynski entered the courtroom, he refused to acknowledge the presence in the front spectator row of his brother, David, and mother, Wanda. Tears streamed down their faces as they held their hands tightly as Kaczynski turned his back to them and sat down, only a few feet away.
It was David Kaczynski who first tipped investigators to the possibility that his brother might be the man the FBI had sought for 18 years. But he has since condemned the government for its decision to seek the death penalty.
The suspect's family insists that he is mentally ill.
Kaczynski is charged in a 10-count indictment covering only four of the 16 bombings attributed to the Unabomber. The government, however, will present evidence trying to link the defendant to all the bombings, which killed three people and injured 29.
Also in court on Monday were:
- Family members of the two Sacramento men killed in the bombings, computer store owner Hugh Scrutton and timber lobbyist Gilbert Murray.
- Two men wounded in Unabomber attacks, Yale computer science Professor David Gelernter and University of California, San Francisco, geneticist Charles Epstein.
Correspondents Don Knapp and Greg Lefevre contributed to this report.