Attorney General Janet Reno requested the death penalty Thursday for Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski despite pleas for mercy from his mother and brother, who had turned him in to the FBI.
Reno ordered prosecutors to seek death on grounds that Kaczynski allegedly killed two men with “planning and premeditation,” lacks remorse and still presents a danger.
The 54-year-old mathematician-turned-hermit has pleaded innocent to federal charges in Sacramento, Calif., and Newark, N.J.
Kaczynski’s younger brother, David, and mother, Wanda, ended the government’s fruitless 18-year nationwide manhunt for the Unabomber last year. They tipped the FBI that they had recognized the ideas and phrases of their relative, a former professor at the University of California at Berkeley, in the Unabomber’s manifestoes.
Kaczynski’s family argued to Justice Department officials that other families would be reluctant to turn in relatives if death were the result in this case.
But Reno, who personally opposes the death penalty, has promised to enforce laws providing it and granted prosecutors’ requests to seek it in this case, as she has in 58 previous cases.