Unabomber suspect is arraigned Former professor charged with having bomb components

Home described as lab

Materials in shack match fragments from blasts, FBI says

April 05, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

HELENA, Mont. -- Theodore J. Kaczynski, the one-time university professor taken into custody Wednesday as a suspect in the Unabomber case, was arraigned in Helena yesterday on a single felony charge of possessing bomb components. He was held without bail.

The arraignment followed a search in which, federal authorities said, they found evidence that Mr. Kaczynski had turned his one-room mountain shack into a virtual bomb laboratory.

When the 53-year-old suspect was brought into the Lewis and Clark County jail in Helena on Wednesday evening, his hair was matted and his stained jeans were badly torn, as if from a scuffle.

By yesterday morning, at his arraignment, he was dressed in orange jail house overalls, and he seemed confident, a bit of a smirk on his face as he glanced around the courtroom.

As Mr. Kaczynski was taken into the federal courthouse in Helena, he ignored shouted questions on whether he was the Unabomber, the mail-bomb terrorist who has killed three people and injured 23 others in the last 18 years.

If, as some federal officials have asserted, Mr. Kaczynski matches the criminal profile of one of the most elusive fugitives from justice in modern times, they made no mention of it in court or in the FBI affidavit that was the basis of the charge brought against him yesterday.

But the affidavit did list an extensive array of bomb parts, manuals and weapons that federal agents said had been found in his 10-by-12-foot cabin, 50 miles northwest of Helena.

And officials said in interviews last night that the bomb materials recovered from the cabin matched fragments from the Unabomber's explosions almost precisely in terms of chemicals and techniques.

Government officials also said last night that they had discovered the manual typewriter they believe was used to type the Unabomber's 35,000-word manifesto, published last year, a rambling tract that called for the destruction of the nation's post-industrial system.

Officials said Mr. Kaczynski would probably be transferred soon to California -- either to San Francisco, where the task force that has tracked him for years is based, or to Sacramento, where the latest fatal Unabomber attack occurred.

They said it could be weeks before a grand jury charged him with the actual explosions.

In Washington, Attorney General Janet Reno said Mr. Kaczynski "was charged as a result of the search," and she would not be drawn into further comments on the underlying facts.

"Nothing more can be said," she added, and she refused to put any time limit on the length of the investigation.

Federal agents scrambled around the country as probable answers began to emerge to the many mysteries remaining in the case.

One official said that investigators now believed Mr. Kaczynski had traveled by bus to California, where a number of the Unabomber's packages were postmarked, to mail some bombs.

Other agents searched homeless shelters in Salt Lake City, where a man was injured by a bomb in 1987, hoping to determine whether the bomber had used the relative anonymity of the shelters to keep a low profile on such trips.

No plea entered

During his 15-minute court appearance yesterday, the pale, thin Mr. Kaczynski did not enter a plea. Answering a series of questions in a clear, matter-of-fact tone, he said he was mentally competent and that he was indigent.

"Quite correct," Mr. Kaczynski said in response to the judge's assumption that he was without enough money to hire a lawyer. He was assigned as counsel Michael Donahoe, a federal public defender.

Through last night, members of the national Unabomber task force continued to search the one-room, plywood cabin in the shadow of the Continental Divide that has been Mr. Kaczynski's home for more than 20 years.

Neighbors said Mr. Kaczynski was a polite hermit, who pedaled his dilapidated bicycle into the town of Lincoln for groceries, mail and books at the community library.

He grew vegetables at the cabin site, on land which he bought with his brother in 1971, according to a county record.

But in the search Wednesday and yesterday, agents said the little home site was full of the raw material of lethal bombs.

Inside the cabin, agents found chemicals, wiring and aluminum that could that could be used to construct a pipe bomb, and they found what appeared to be a partly completed pipe bomb, said Special Agent Donald J. Sachtleben, in the affidavit filed in federal court in Helena yesterday.

The cabin, about four miles up a dirt road from Lincoln, is without electricity or running water.

When federal agents knocked on the door Wednesday, Mr. Kaczynski was at home. Some agents said there was a scuffle, and then he was taken away, though he did not arrive at the jail in Helena, about 50 miles from his home, until Wednesday evening.

Inside the home

In the home, agents found diagrams and notes related to the construction of pipe bombs, Agent Sachtleben said.

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