Kaczynski had been held in Supermax Federal Prison in Florence, Colorado since May 1998, when he was sentenced to four life sentences plus 30 years for a campaign of terror that captivated universities across the nation. He admitted to committing 16 bombings from 1978 to 1995, permanently maiming many of his victims.
A Harvard-educated mathematician, Kaczynski lived as a recluse in a squalid cabin in rural Montana, where he carried out a series of solo bombing raids that changed the way Americans shipped packages and boarded airplanes.
Its targets included academics and airlines, the owner of a computer rental store, an advertising executive, and a timer industry lobbyist. In 1993, a California geneticist and Yale University computer expert were maimed by bombs in the span of two days.
Two years later, he used the threat of continued violence to get the New York Times and Washington Post to publish his manifesto, a 35,000-word screed against modern life and technology, as well as harm to the environment.
The tone of the treaty was recognized by his brother, David, and David’s wife, Linda Patrik, who tipped off the FBI, which had been looking for the Unabomber for years in the nation’s longest and costliest manhunt.
Authorities in April 1996 found him in a small plywood and tar paper cabin outside Lincoln, Montana, filled with magazines, a coded journal, explosive ingredients, and two completed bombs.
While awaiting trial in 1998, Kaczynski attempted to hang himself with a pair of underpants. Although diagnosed by a psychiatrist as a paranoid schizophrenic, he was adamant that he was not mentally ill. He ultimately pleaded guilty rather than allow his lawyers to present an insanity defense.
Raised in Chicago, Kaczynski skipped two grades before attending Harvard at age 16, where he published articles in prestigious math journals.
His explosives were thoroughly tested and arrived in wooden boxes meticulously handcrafted and sanded to remove any fingerprints. Later bombs bore the signature « FC » for « Freedom Club ».
The FBI called him the « Unabomber » because his prime targets appeared to be universities and airlines. An altitude-triggered bomb he shipped in 1979 exploded as planned aboard an American Airlines flight; a dozen people on board suffered from smoke inhalation.