Investigators find mass of evidence tied to Unabomber Search of cabin in Montana woods continues by inches


WASHINGTON -- As amazed investigators combing the cabin of a Montana recluse continued to haul away what they said was a mountain of evidence tying Theodore John Kaczynski to the Unabomber attacks, authorities began to turn their attention yesterday to the tactics of building a case against him.

Federal law enforcement officials said they still could not explain how the man they believe was the mail bomber would have selected his victims.

But they voiced confidence that the explosives, pipes, solder, tools, notebooks and other objects found at the cabin would build a link between the 53-year-old former math professor and the 18-year nationwide trail of terror that left three people dead and 23 injured.

In particular, as an FBI affidavit set forth, searchers were astounded to discover at least 10 loose-leaf binders, filled with meticulous writings and sketches, which Mr. Kaczynski had made no attempt to hide.

One official said some of the drawings appeared to depict the workings of the Unabomber's devices. "I think we're going to find that the drawings are going to match up," he said.

Two typewriters have also been seized and one, investigators said, appeared to be the one on which the Unabomber had typed a 35,000-word screed denouncing modern technology, a manuscript whose publication by the Washington Post and the New York Times last year led to the tip from a brother that ended with the suspect's arrest Wednesday.

Elated by the accumulating evidence from the cabin that may take through next week to collect, law enforcement officials from California to New Jersey began positioning themselves for the prosecution.

In Montana, where Mr. Kaczynski was arrested after weeks of surveillance on charges of possessing explosives, federal prosecutors said Thursday that they would convene a grand jury April 17 to hear evidence against him.

Represented by a public defender in federal court in Helena, the bearded Mr. Kaczynski, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, waived his right to a bail hearing and remained in custody.

The Montana grand jury will consider only offenses committed within the state. Because the bombings occurred in other states, federal and local prosecutors in those states are considering whether to seek trials in their states, officials said yesterday.

With two mail bomb deaths in California and one in New Jersey, prosecutors in those states may have the strongest claim if clear evidence emerges tying Mr. Kaczynski to those bombings.

Two of the bombings, one in North Caldwell, N.J., on Dec. 10, 1994, and another in Sacramento, Calif., on Dec. 11, 1985, occurred after enactment of a federal death penalty law for lethal terrorist attacks. In addition, California and New Jersey have the death penalty.

Gov. Pete Wilson of California has already said he would seek to have Mr. Kaczynski tried there. Federal prosecutors in Sacramento and Newark have voiced interest in taking on the case, although the offices would not discuss the matter yesterday.

With the shift to amassing evidence and building a prosecution case, the search for the person responsible for a frightening trail of 16 bombings over 18 years appears to have come to an end.

The attacks began in 1978 with the explosion of a package sent to the University of Illinois and returned to a fictitious sender at Northwestern University. A security guard was injured. A second bomb in a box was found at Northwestern a year later, injuring a student.

That same year, in November 1978, a bomb mailed from Chicago exploded aboard an American Airlines flight to Washington, injuring 12 people. In the 1980s the locus of the attacks seemed to shift westward, with some exceptions, to universities in Salt Lake City and Berkeley, Calif.

In 1985 the wave of bombings claimed its first fatality -- a computer store owner, Hugh Campbell Scrutton, in Salt Lake City.

Nine years later came the killing of an advertising executive, Thomas Mosser, in North Caldwell, N.J. Then in April 1995, a forestry association president, Gilbert P. Murray, died in a blast in Sacramento.

Through it, the bomber, who came to be known for his FBI acronym based on his attacks on universities and aviation, taunted the authorities with typewritten letters and a long manifesto decrying the dehumanizing effects of technology.

As the authorities had long hoped, the writings helped lead to an arrest.

Mr. Kaczynski's younger brother, David, of Schenectady, N.Y., grew suspicious after reading the published manifesto late last year and contacted the FBI through a Washington lawyer who has not been identified.

One federal official said yesterday that the lawyer initially tried to win a promise that the government would not seek the death penalty if the tip did implicate Theodore Kaczynski, but the request was rebuffed.

As it is, officials said, David Kaczynski may well be eligible for the $1 million reward posted for information leading to the bomber's arrest, although they said the family had long anguished over providing the information and displayed no interest in any reward.

David Kaczynski and his mother, Wanda, have made no public comment on the case since the arrest.

Officials said searchers have been struck at the quantity of incriminating material at the cabin, a crude 10-by-12-foot plywood dwelling with no electricity or plumbing about five miles from Lincoln and 60 miles northwest of Helena.

Clearly, one supervisory investigator said, no effort had been made to conceal anything inside the one-room cabin, although searchers were taking the precaution of X-raying piles of books and other items to detect any hidden bombs.

Although accounts suggested that Mr. Kaczynski rarely strayed far from the primitive homestead over the past quarter-century, for nearly 15 years he has been staying, off and on, for a night or two at a time at the Park Hotel, an inexpensive place in downtown Helena, according to the owner-operator, Barbara McCabe.

Pub Date: 4/06/96

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