Unabomber News History

Copyright 1995 Gannett Company, Inc.


April 26, 1995, Wednesday, FIRST EDITION


LENGTH: 686 words

HEADLINE: Unabomber may want back on front pages

BYLINE: Gale Holland; Maria Goodavage



A serial bomber who added to a brazen 17-year reign of terror with a fatal blast at a timber lobbying group here was inspired by the Oklahoma City bombing, experts said Tuesday.

"It does hurt his feelings when other bombings occur," said Lawrence Myers, who is writing a book on serial bombers. "If he can get (Oklahoma suspect) John Doe 2 off the front page and his composite picture back on, he'd be very, very happy."

Authorities disclosed Tuesday they'd received new insight into the mind of the Unabomber because he mailed two and possibly three letters from Oakland along with the parcel that arrived at the offices of the California Forestry Association Monday afternoon.

The timber group's president, Gilbert Murray, 47, died instantly after opening the meticulously wrapped package.

The bomber is "describing his actions and motives for the first time in 17 years," said the FBI's Jim Freeman, who heads the federal task force.

Sources told The Associated Press two letters went to former Unabomber victims. Written in a shaky hand, they included bizarre environmental demands. "This guy has flipped out," AP's source said.

The third letter reportedly went to The New York Times. A similar letter to the Times coincided with an attack that killed a New Jersey advertising executive last year. That letter aped a communique to the Times from the Trade Center bombers, another reason to suspect the Unabomber is motivated by press clippings, Myers said.

"Most of us were watching the Oklahoma bombing identifying with the victims. He would have been more likely to identify with the perpetrators."

The suspect has set off at least 16 bombs across the country since 1978, killing three, including one other Sacramento man, and injuring 23.

Although the Unabomber - so named because early targets were universities and airlines - has demonstrated a puzzling scatter-shot pattern, there are patterns. The suspect has a penchant for wood, both in the construction of his devices and in his targets. Many victims had wood or wood-associated words in names or addresses.

Also, many victims lived near Interstate 80, a cross-country freeway. Technology may play a role, too. Many of his devices bore the initials "FC," possibly representing an obscene oath against computers.

"This man is brazen in the truest sense of the word," says Sacramento police homicide detective Joe Enlow. "He isn't really hiding this is his bomb."

Agents from the San Francisco-based task force spent the day at Murray's downtown offices sifting for clues.

Investigators had expected to hear from the Unabomber before summer, but he apparently stepped up his timetable because of the Oklahoma City "challenge," analysts said.

FBI profilers have pegged the Unabomber as a loner in his 40s, perhaps with a home shop where he hand-tools his bombs.

Even the box hinges are hand-crafted, investigators say.

"He's had bombs that look like a book, a notebook, a can of paint," said expert Murray Miron.

Reign of terror began in 1978

-- Dec. 10, 1994: Ad exec killed at North Caldwell, N.J., home.

-- June 24, 1993: Computer scientist hurt at Yale University.

-- June 22, 1993: University of California-San Francisco geneticist injured at home.

-- Feb. 20, 1987: One hurt near Salt Lake City computer store.

-- Dec. 11, 1985: Sacramento computer store owner killed.

-- Nov. 15, 1985: One hurt, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

-- June 13, 1985: Package mailed to the Boeing Co. in Auburn, Wash., disarmed.

-- May 15, 1985: One injured in computer room at University of California at Berkeley.

-- July 2, 1982: Berkeley professor injured.

-- May 5, 1982: One injured at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

-- Oct. 8, 1981: Bomb found at University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

-- June 10, 1980: United Airlines president hurt in Chicago.

-- Nov. 15, 1979: Bomb in cargo hold explodes during American Airlines flight; 12 injured.

-- May 9, 1979: One hurt at Northwestern University.

-- May 26, 1978: One injured when package found at University of Illinois and brought to Northwestern University explodes.

GRAPHIC: PHOTO, b/w, FBI via AP; PHOTO, b/w, AP; PHOTO, b/w, Bob Galbraith, AP