Unabomber suspect pleads not guilty Federal defender doubts trial will start before 1997

June 26, 1996|By KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Making his first California court appearance, accused Unabomber Theodore J. Kaczynski pleaded not guilty to four bombings that killed two people and injured two others.

Appearing frail but confident, Kaczynski strode into the packed courtroom with his court-appointed attorney, federal defender Quin Denvir, who entered the not guilty plea for him. Kaczynski did not speak during the two-minute hearing, but he nodded when U.S. Magistrate Peter Nowinski told him speedy trial rules would be waived because of the complexity of the case.

Denvir said he could not spell out his defense strategy to reporters because he first needed to pore over 1,400 pounds of photographs, documents and other evidence the prosecution is expected to turn over. The evidence is expected to arrive from Montana, where Kaczynski lived without electricity in a small cabin he built.

Denvir said he doubted the trial would begin for another year. In the meantime, he is expected to challenge the legality of the search of Kaczynski's cabin and the constitutionality of the federal death penalty, which Kaczynski could face if convicted.

Dressed in khakis, a green cotton button-down shirt, white socks and navy deck shoes but no shoelaces, Kaczynski sported a bandage over his right eye. Denvir said he apparently stumbled and injured himself when federal marshals were escorting him to the second-floor courtroom for the brief court appearance.

The 54-year-old former University of California-Berkeley math professor was arraigned on a 10-count indictment that charges him with mailing and transporting four of the 16 bombs linked to the Unabomber, whose 18-year reign of terror killed three people and injured 23. Two of the bombs were mailed from Sacramento and two were either mailed or hand-delivered to Sacramento.

One bomb killed Sacramento computer store owner Hugh Scrutton in 1985, and another bomb killed Sacramento timber lobbyist Gilbert Murray in April 1995. The other two bombs, mailed from Sacramento, injured Dr. Charles Epstein of the University of California-San Francisco in June 1993, and Yale computer expert David Gelernter in 1994.

Pub Date: 6/26/96

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