The Unabomber – so named because his case was given the acronym UNABOM which stood for the places he targeted; UNiversity and Airline BOMbings – killed three men and injured 23 others in his 16 terrorist attacks between 1978 and 1995.
The bomber constructed letter bombs and mailed them out to people, beginning with a package sent in 1978 to a professor at Northwestern University. The envelope was opened by a campus security guard who sustained minor injuries.
Two bombs were sent to American Airlines. One in 1979 failed to explode while a 1980 bomb was sent to the company’s president who sustained minor injuries from the explosion.
A secretary at the University of California at Berkeley and a professor at Vanderbilt University were seriously injured from opening package bombs from him. The first death occurred in 1985 when a computer store owner was killed due to one of the Unabomber’s bomb packages outside of his store.
Two more people were killed in the next decade – 50-year-old advertising executive Thomas Mosser in December 1994 and California Forestry Association President, Gilbert Murray in April 1995.
On 19 September 1995 the Washington Post and the New York Times published a 35,000-word manifesto by the Unabomber.
His manifesto explained in coherent terms that he was against technological progress, industrialisation and political correctness, which he regarded as blights on both the natural world and society.
In return for publishing the text, which filled eight newspaper pages, the bomber promised that he would stop his 20-year bombing campaign.
By agreeing, the publishers and the FBI hoped someone would recognise his writing style – and, in fact, the bomber’s brother did just that.
Six months later, 53-year-old former university professor and Harvard graduate Theodore ‘Ted’ Kaczynski was arrested at his remote cabin home near Lincoln, Montana. He was caught after his brother notified the FBI that Kaczynski’s letters bore a resemblance to the manifesto.
He eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced by US District Judge Garland Burrell Jr to four life sentences plus 30 years, as set out in a plea bargain that spared him the chance of a death penalty.