Kaczynski cabin witness for defense
Jonathan T. Lovitt
SACRAMENTO -- Theodore Kaczynski's primitive cabin was loaded onto a
flatbed truck in Montana Tuesday and readied for a move to California, where
his lawyers plan to give jurors a first-hand look at the home life of the alleged
Defense lawyers hope they can convince jurors of Kaczynski's unstable mental
state by showing them the squalid conditions in which he lived for two decades.
Kaczynski was arrested in the cabin outside Lincoln, Mont., in April 1996. He
built the plywood cabin with his brother, David, and had been living in it without
any heat, plumbing or electricity.
FBI investigators say they found the 10-by-12-foot shack crammed with books,
typewriters and other items, including a live bomb and bomb-making chemicals.
Kaczynski's lawyers are trying to prove that he suffers from schizophrenia and
was incapable of the criminal intent necessary to convict him of the bombings
that killed two men in Sacramento and injured two others.
Kaczynski, 55, has thwarted his lawyers' efforts by refusing to submit to a
court-ordered psychiatric evaluation. U.S. District Court Judge Garland Burrell
Jr. hasn't decided how much psychiatric evidence to allow at trial.
Even if Burrell limits the use of such testimony, defense lawyers predict that a
glimpse of the cabin will help their case. "You really cannot understand this
guy's life unless you can get in that cabin," lead defense attorney Quin Denvir
Don Heller, a former federal prosecutor in Sacramento, says "the smell will have
an effect" on jurors. "He lived packed in filth. It's definitely not normal."
Potential jurors have expressed their curiosity.
Juror 152, an elderly woman, mentioned the cabin during questioning Tuesday
when asked what she had read about the case.
"That old cabin kind of stuck in my mind," she said. "I wondered how anyone
could live like that. . . . I just can't imagine."
Denvir said the cabin is to be delivered to the former Mather Air Force Base,
now an industrial park, about 10 miles east of the courthouse. The defense wants
jurors to visit the site during the trial and walk inside the building.