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Judge clears death penalty for Kaczynski

SHARE Judge clears death penalty for Kaczynski

A jury can consider the death penalty against Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski if it convicts him of a bombing death, a federal judge ruled Friday.

U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell denied a request from Kaczynski's attorneys to block a possible death sentence, rejecting their arguments that a capital sentence was "cruel and unusual punishment."Jury selection in Kaczynski's trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday. The former mathematics professor is charged with using bombs to kill a businessman and timber lobbyist a decade apart in Sacramento and of injuring two others.

He also has been charged in New Jersey with the bombing death of an advertising executive. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The government contends Kaczynski is a serial bomber responsible for 16 attacks across the nation between 1978 and 1995 in which three were killed and 23 injured.

The defense had urged Burrell to block potential imposition of a death sentence, contending that the federal statute was vague and that the prosecution's plans to discuss evidence of alleged crimes that are not included in the indictment could prejudice a jury against Kaczynski.