Four life terms for Unabomber

THE Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, was formally sentenced to four life terms yesterday at a hearing where the former maths professor and self-styled environmental revolutionary fought for centre-stage with victims of his 17-year campaign.

In a Sacramento court, Judge Garland Burrell endorsed the plea-bargain deal between Kaczynski's lawyers and prosecutors, saying he had "committed unspeakable and monstrous crimes for which he shows utterly no remorse".

Kaczynski, 55, destined to die in prison, used the occasion to denounce prosecutors for "discrediting me personally", even though he admitted killing three people and injuring scores. The wife of one victim described seeing her husband ripped apart by a package bomb filled with razor blades and nails.

Prosecutors accepted a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence for Kaczynski after questions about his sanity, and his courtroom antics, derailed the trial. But under laws guaranteeing victims their day in court, yesterday's hearing to rubber-stamp the deal became a venting of frustration and anger. Susan Mosser, whose husband, Thomas, was killed by a bomb, described him bleeding to death, his fingers sheared off and his stomach cut open, as their young daughter watched. She said: "Lock him so far down that when he dies he will be closer to Hell."

Kaczynski, pursuing his own agenda to the last, took offence at a memo submitted to the court by the prosecution. It portrayed him as a devious, diseased criminal, driven by sadistic or even sexual impulses far removed from the environmental agenda he claimed in writings. Given that the government had abandoned the effort to execute him, its timing and tone were strange.

Prosecutors included fresh excerpts from his journals, including one in which he recalled visiting a psychiatrist to talk about a sex-change operation, and then wrote: "Why not really kill that psychiatrist and anyone else whom I hate?"

Asked by the judge if he wished to make a statement, Kaczynski said he did. Speaking for a minute, he said the memo contained "false statements, misleading statements ... By discrediting me personally, they hope to discredit my political ideals." He promised to reply to the memo later, at length, and asked people "to reserve judgement about me".