San Francisco Bureau Chief Greg Lefevre has covered the
Unabomb story since the early 1980s. These are some of his
Musings on a trial cut short
January 23, 1998
Web posted at: 10:54 p.m. EST (0354 GMT)
From San Francisco Bureau Chief Greg Lefevre
SACRAMENTO, California (CNN) -- The four-month Unabomb trial
never happens. The enigmatic Mr. Kaczynski quietly goes off
to jail forever. And the shattered families he left behind
try to pick up the pieces. Many here believe a negotiated
plea never really brings closure.
The widow of Ted Kaczynski's last victim said the Unabomber
manipulated the system right up to the end.
Gov. Pete Wilson said Californians should feel cheated that
Kaczynski did not suffer the same fate as his three murdered
In the end, Kaczynski's attorneys quietly slipped out the
back door of the courthouse. Heroes or heels? They came to
town to save their client's life and accomplished just that.
Kaczynski's new occupation? Inmate, your honor.
A model prisoner
Kaczynski's brother David and mother Wanda
In jail he was always polite, sometimes chatting to himself.
Jailers said Kaczynski never gave them any grief.
One anecdote: As he was being taken from the court in a jail
van, another inmate traveling with him began shouting and
cursing the officer in front. Kaczynski turned to the inmate
and said, "Shhh. You'll get us in trouble."
This from a man who'd murdered three people and faced the
He said he wanted to be his own lawyer at his trial, and on
several occasions consulted the jail's law library.
What about the cabin?
Kaczynski's Montana cabin, which was taken to
Sacramento for trial evidence
The cabin sits on the outskirts of town, stashed away in a
warehouse at a former Air Force base. Its presence was to be
a symbol of Kaczynski's dementia. Now it's meaningless. A
hollow shell, haunted perhaps by the ghosts of the diabolical
plots hatched therein.
What of the mountain of evidence -- diaries, books, journals?
Who gets to keep his practice bomb?
The media created a huge news center in the parking lot
across from the courthouse.
Trailers, some of them double-wide, clogged the lot. Networks
also rented suites in an office tower next door. Reporters
set up tents under the trees to shield themselves from the
rain ... and from the crows, millions of crows, that lived in
We called it Camp Ted. Perhaps it should have been named Camp
Hugh or Camp Gil to honor the two Sacramento men Kaczynski
The jury goes home
What about the jurors who put their lives on hold for four
They've gone back home or to their jobs, denied their chance
to witness and create justice. Or are they relieved that
they will not have to vote on whether another human being
lives or dies.
Me? There's plenty to do. Stories on hold, shoved aside by
the need to cover Ted. ... And golf swings that need work.