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Bomber faces victims, gets life

Theodore Kaczynski, the convicted Unabomber who proved unrepentant to the end, was formally sentenced to four life terms in prison Monday after his victims confronted him in court with declarations of pain, pleas for vengeance and, for some, a desire to see him executed.

"Lock him so far down that when he dies he will be closer to hell," said Susan Mosser, whose husband was killed by an exploding package mailed by Kaczynski.

"May your own eventual death occur as you have lived, in a solitary manner, without compassion or love," said Lois Epstein, whose husband, a professor of pediatrics, had his hand mangled by a bomb.

"The defendant committed unspeakable and monstrous crimes for which he shows utterly no remorse," said U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell Jr. in handing down the sentence.

The federal bureau of prisons will decide soon where Kaczynski is to serve his time.

The life sentences, with no possibility of release, were part of a plea bargain struck between Kaczynski and federal prosecutors Jan. 22 after his trial was derailed over confusion about who should represent him. Kaczynski's lawyers insisted on pursuing a defense that would have characterized their client as suffering from the delusions of a schizophrenic, a description he refused to allow.

Kaczynski pleaded guilty to charges related to three deaths and the maiming of two scientists during a series of bombings that lasted almost two decades. The killings ended only when the Washington Post and New York Times published his anti-technology manifesto in September 1995 and his brother, David, recognized Kaczynski's thinking and tipped off FBI agents who arrested the bomber at his Montana hideaway.

In Monday's proceedings, Kaczynski, 55, read out a series of complaints accusing the government of distorting the meaning of his actions.

"Two days ago, the government filed a sentencing memorandum, the purpose of which was clearly political," containing "false statements, misleading statements," he said.

This referred to excerpts from Kaczynski's journals filed by federal prosecutors last week as part of their sentencing recommendations. The passages portrayed Kaczynski not as a principled eco-warrior out to save society from technology _ an image that attached to him during the trial _ but as petulant, almost childish murderer.

"By discrediting me personally, they hope to discredit my political ideas," he said.

Kaczynski continued, "At a later time I expect to respond at length to the sentencing memorandum. Meanwhile, I hope the public will reserve judgment against me and all the facts about the Unabom case until another time."

It was unclear whether Kaczynski was referring to further legal pleadings in the case, or whether he plans to issue communiques from prison. He is barred from receiving payment for his writings.

Mosser, whose husband Thomas Mosser was a public relations executive, walked to the prosecutor's table and spoke after Kaczynski read his statement. "Nails," she began. "Razor blades. Wire. Pipe and batteries. The recipe for what causes pain. Hold it in your hand, as my husband Tom did, and you feel unbearable pain."

In a wavering voice, she told how the bomb package sat overnight on a table in the front room of their New Jersey home as the couple's children played nearby. Thomas Mosser opened the package in the kitchen _ there was a terrible explosion _ and then Susan ran to her husband and found him sprawled on the floor, his body ripped open. She tried to stem the flow with a baby blanket.

Mosser remembered one of her daughters screaming, "No, no, not my Daddy!" and the other demanding, "Fix him!"

"It was the day our family was to pick out a Christmas tree," Mosser said. "Instead, I had to tell my children, "Daddy is dead.' "

David Gelernter, a Yale professor whose hand was severely disfigured in a bomb attack, had a statement read to the court, saying Kaczynski should have been executed but will live on as "a symbol of cowardice."

David Kaczynski, the murderer's brother, spoke briefly outside the courthouse.

"There are no words to express the sorrow of today's proceedings. To all of these people, the Kaczynski family offers its deepest apologies," he said, speaking the words the victims had hoped to hear from the bomber himself. "We're very, very sorry."