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Unabomber Trial Preview

January 05, 1998

Opening statements are scheduled to begin today in U.S. District Court in Sacramento in the trial of Theodore J. Kaczynski, 55. A former mathematics professor at UC Berkeley, Kaczynski was arrested at his Montana cabin in April 1996. He is being tried in the separate deaths of two men in Sacramento and the maiming of two others. The government alleges that he is the Unabomber, who has been tied to a a series of bombings from 1978 to 1995 that killed three and injured 29. If convicted, Kaczynski could face the death penalty. He has pleaded not guilty.


Garland E. Burrell Jr.

Born: 1947, South-Central Los Angeles

Education: Bachelor's degree, sociology, Cal State Los Angeles; master's degree, social work, Washington University, St. Louis; law degree, California Western School of Law, San Diego.

Profile: Considered a conservative, by-the-book judge who is often described as thoughtful, deliberative and diligent, but sometimes "thorough to a fault."


Prosecutors plan to use a "mountain" of evidence seized at Kaczynski's Montana cabin, including handwritten diaries, a partially completed bomb and a draft of the 35,000 word manifesto against technology attributed to the Unabomber to prove that Kaczynski coldly and methodically planned and carried out the bombings.


The strategy for defending Kaczynski is unclear after his court-appointed defense team dropped plans to use psychiatrists to show that he is mentally ill. Kaczynski has resisted attempts to portray him as disturbed. The defense may raise questions about his mental state by citing his writings and photos of him as a cleancut professor and reclusive hermit and showing jurors his tiny cabin, which was moved to Sacramento. If he is found guilty, defense attorneys--might call mental health experts and family members to testify.


Expected trial length: Two to four months



Hugh Scrutton: Computer store owner killed in 1985

Gilbert Murray: Forestry association executive killed in 1995

Charles Epstein: Geneticist severely injured in 1933

David Gelernter: Computer scientist severely injured in 1993


Prosecutor Robert J. Cleary

Born: 1956 in New York

EDUCATION: Business administration degree, College of William and Mary; law degree, Fordham University Law School

PROFILE: Conscientous and unflappable is how colleagues have described Cleary, the first assistant U.S. attorney in northern New Jersey. He will head up the prosecution team. Cleary has worked on the Unabomber case since 1994, when a New Jersey advertising executive was killed by a bomb. Kaczynski has been charged separately in that case.


Defense attorney Quin Denvir

Born: 1940 in Chicago

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, English, University of Notre Dame; master's degree, economics, American University; law degree, University of Chicago Law School

PROFILE: Lead defense counsel Denvir is a veteran of California death row appeals, having secured reversals in three death penalty cases. He has represented the poor and disenfranchised for most of his professional career, beginning in 1971 when he joined California Rural Legal Assistance.


Defense attorney Judy Clarke

Born: 1953 in Asheville, N.C.

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, psychology, Furman University; law degree, University of South Carolina

PROFILE: An ardent death penalty foe, Clarke helped persuade jurors to spare the life of Susan Smith, who was convicted in 1995 of drowning her two young sons by strapping them into her car and driving it into a lake in South Carolina. She writes regularly on federal sentencing guidelines and is co-author of the Federal Sentencing Manual.

Researched by NONA YATES / Los Angeles Times

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