January 21, 1998 in Nation/World

Kaczynski Diagnosed Fit For Trial But Suspect Diagnosed As Paranoid Schizophrenic

Associated Press
 

The federal prison psychiatrist who found Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski competent to stand trial also diagnosed him as a paranoid schizophrenic, The Associated Press learned Tuesday.

Meanwhile, other sources close to the case said that a 47-page report by Dr. Sally Johnson of the federal Bureau of Prisons had sparked renewed plea negotiations in Washington between the Justice Department and Kaczynski’s defense.

Kaczynski has offered to plead guilty to Unabomber charges to escape the death penalty, but the government has repeatedly refused.

Johnson had reached her conclusion after a full week of interviews with Kaczynski. She found that Kaczynski was competent to stand trial, “despite the psychiatric diagnoses described in the attached report,” according to the cover letter to her report.

The letter did not identify the diagnoses, and the contents of her report were sealed by the judge. But sources close to the case who spoke on condition of anonymity said Johnson concluded that Kaczynski suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

The disease is often characterized by delusions of persecution and can lead to violence.

But Johnson found that the disease would not interfere with Kaczynski’s ability to understand the proceedings of his trial and assist his lawyers with his defense - the only criteria for competence.

Kaczynski’s defense team has long contended that the defendant is mentally ill - a contention that the defendant himself adamantly resists. The government has opposed the introduction of mental health issues in the trial, primarily because Kaczynski repeatedly refused to be examined by court-appointed psychiatrists.

© Copyright 1998 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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