Kaczynski gets life, says government lied
Unabomber, victims speak in court before sentencing
May 4, 1998
Web posted at: 3:24 p.m. EDT (1924 GMT)
In this story:
SACRAMENTO, California (CNN) -- Sentenced on Monday to spend
the rest of his life in prison, convicted Unabomber Theodore
Kaczynski said the federal government misrepresented him as
a vengeful loner. But there was no sympathy from victims and
their families who, along with Kaczynski, were allowed to
address the court before sentencing.
Susan Mosser, who lost her husband in a Unabomber attack,
urged U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell Jr. to "lock him
so far down that when he dies he will be closer to hell."
In a short statement, Kaczynski said a government report,
filed last week, was "clearly political" and meant to
discredit him. In reality, he said, the report discredits
As Kaczynski began to speak, the family of the last Unabomber
victim to die, Sacramento timber lobbyist Gilbert Murray,
stood up and walked out of the courtroom en masse. Some of
them returned when Kaczynski finished.
"I walked out because there is nothing that he could say that
I was willing to hear," Murray's widow said in a statement.
"He has no concept or understanding of what he has done."
Mrs. Murray said she was "moved" what other Unabomb survivors
and their families said in court.
Apology from Kaczynski's brother
David Kaczynski apologizes to the victims and their
Kaczynski was sentenced by Burrell under a plea bargain
agreement that called for him to receive four consecutive
life terms without parole plus 30 years.
The sentence was Kaczynski's punishment for three fatal
bombings as well as two other attacks that injured two
Afterward, Kaczynski's brother, David, offered his family's
"deepest apologies" to the victims and their families. "We
are very, very sorry," he told reporters outside the federal
courthouse in Sacramento. 238K/39 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
Prosecutor Robert Cleary called Unabomber victims and their
families an "inspiration." 349K/21 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
As part of the plea bargain, which saved Kaczynski from a
trial and possible death by lethal injection, he acknowledged
responsibility for all 16 Unabomber attacks between 1978 and
The 55-year-old former math professor will be sent to a
high-security federal prison, possibly in Lompoc, California,
or in Colorado. Burrell said he feared Kaczynski would try
to kill again if not closely watched.
Kaczynski: Government made 'false statements'
"I hoped that the victim would be blinded or have his
hands blow off or otherwise maimed ..." reads one excerpt
from journals found in Kaczynski's cabin
Last week's government report, called a sentencing
memorandum, quotes extensively from Kaczynski's journals, in
which he wrote of a deep hatred of people.
In his published 30,000-word treatise known as the Unabomber
manifesto, Kaczynski claimed a moral high ground for his
bombing campaign, justifying the attacks in the name of
preserving humanity and nature from the relentless onslaught
of technology and exploitation.
But in his journals, the government said, Kaczynski scoffed
at environmental ideals.
The journals, found by FBI investigators in his Montana
mountain cabin, revealed a cynical, apparently sexually
confused killer who delighted in his deadly explosions and
cared little for the outside world.
"I believe in nothing," Kaczynski wrote. "I don't even
believe in the cult of nature-worshipers or
wilderness-worshipers. (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 ...)"
In Kaczynski's Montana cabin, authorities found a fully
armed bomb wrapped in an unaddressed package
Of his killings, Kaczynski wrote: "My motive for doing what I
am going to do is simply personal revenge."
But speaking in a high-pitched voice, Kaczynski said the
sentencing memo contained "false statements, misleading
"By discrediting me personally, they hope to discredit my
political ideas," he said.
Kaczynski asked people to reserve their judgment about him
and the Unabomb case until he has had a chance to respond.
He said he would reply to the government filing later, at
Since his brother David's tip led to Kaczynski's arrest in
April 1996, the family has claimed the writings were that of
a paranoid schizophrenic, not a cold-blooded killer.
In January a federal prison psychiatrist agreed, opening the
way for prosecutors to drop their demand for the death
sentence and allow the plea bargain.
Victims speak in court
After Kaczynski spoke, some of his victims and their loved
ones addressed the court:
First to speak was Mosser. Her husband, Thomas, a New
Jersey advertising executive, was killed by a package bomb in
She ticked off a list of household items -- batteries, razor
blades, pipes, nails -- that were turned into deadly weapons
by the Unabomber's hands. "Hold it in your hand when it is
exploding and you have unbearable pain," she said.
Speaking above occasional sobs in the courtroom, Mrs. Mosser
told how her daughter had watched her father bleed. "No, no,
no, not my Daddy," the little girl had said.
Geneticist Charles Epstein, who was maimed by the Unabomber
in 1993, scoffed at Kaczynski's claim of the moral high
ground. Kaczynski must not have believed too strongly in his
anti-technology campaign, if he was unwilling to risk the
death penalty by going to trial, he said.
"You saved your own neck. ... But you did everything, and
more, and you did it in cold blood," Epstein said.