The jury selection began in California today for Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. Following a background report by Spencer Michels, Elizabeth Farnsworth talks with David Jackson about the trial.
SPENCER MICHELS: Just a few blocks from the California state capitol in Sacramento jury selection in the trial of Theodore Kaczynski began in federal court today. Two of the three deaths Kaczynski is implicated in occurred in this city, the first in December 1985. Hugh Scrutton was killed outside his computer store when he picked up a package containing a bomb. The government alleges Kaczynski placed it there himself. Ten years later, at this spot, Gilbert Murray, president of the California Forestry Association, died when he opened a package that was allegedly mailed from Oakland by Kaczynski. A total of 23 people across the country were injured by 16 bombings attributed to the Unabomber between 1978 and 1995. The FBI called him the Unabomber because many of those bombs were sent to University professors. For 11 years Tony Muljat, now retired in Sacramento as a postal inspector, worked on the Unabomber task force.
TONY MULJAT, Unabomber Task Force: Up until 1987, we had no idea if the individual was a male or female because it was in 1987 that a witness observed our suspect in Salt Lake City placing the bomb in back of the Cambs Computer Store.
SPENCER MICHELS: The FBI developed this sketch from that sighting, but it was another ten years before there was a break in the case. Ironically, the Unabomber, himself, provided that break by mailing his so-called "manifesto," a 35,000-word anti-technology, anti-modern civilization diatribe, to newspapers. Under threat of more violence from the Unabomber the New York Times and the Washington Post published it. Kaczynski's brother, David, read it and contacted an attorney.
ANTHONY BISCEGLIE, David Kaczynski's Lawyer: (April 1996) When the manifesto was published, David Kaczynski read the manifesto with the idea that he would be able to immediately discount any connection between his brother and the Unabomber. Unfortunately for Mr. David Kaczynski, when he read the manifesto, he was unable to do that and, in fact, was left with considerable unease.
SPENCER MICHELS: David's cooperation eventually led the FBI to capture Ted Kaczynski in a remote cabin in Montana. The suspect, a Chicago native, was a Harvard graduate, a brilliant mathematician, a professor at the University of California, and very much a loner.
SPENCER MICHELS: Why was this man so difficult to find out about?
TONY MULJAT: Well, because he didn't share anything he was doing with anybody. He kept his mouth shut, and certainly he didn't talk to anybody, and nobody knew anything about him. He was up in this isolated cabin, a 10 by 12 cabin up in Montana, for 20 something years.
SPENCER MICHELS: In the cabin, which eventually was moved to protect the evidence, authorities found an array of papers, chemicals, two bombs, and lists of scientists. They also found what may be an original of the manifesto. The 10-count indictment against Kaczynski includes charges of transporting and mailing an explosive device with intent to kill or injure. Those charges carry a maximum possible sentence of death, which the government is asking for. Kaczynski has pleaded "not guilty." Jury selection is expected to last a month and the trial several months.