THEODORE KACZYNSKI, who has admitted to 16 bombings that injured 23 people and killed three, will be sentenced tomorrow in federal court in Sacramento.
Susan Mosser sat at the kitchen table to write why she believes that Theodore Kaczynski, who confessed to murdering her husband, should never leave prison.
"Mommy, are you mad at me?"
Mosser looked at her daughter, Kelly, 4, red-haired and apple-cheeked.
"No, honey, I'm not mad at you."
"Then why do you look so mad?"
The moment had come to explain to Kelly why, for so long as the little girl could remember, her daddy, Thomas Mosser, was known as "my daddy in heaven."
This would be far tougher than the task of writing the statement she will deliver in federal court in Sacramento tomorrow, when the Unabomber is sentenced.
"I wanted the death penalty for him if he were found guilty," said Mosser, in her first interview since Kaczynski admitted Jan. 22 to 16 bombings that injured 23 people and killed three, including Kelly's father.
Thomas Mosser, 50, was killed on Dec. 10, 1994, in the kitchen of his North Caldwell, N.J., home, when he opened a package sent by Kaczynski and it exploded.
"It was hard for me to want the death penalty. I never thought I believed in it. But he carried out the death penalty on three absolutely innocent people," Susan Mosser said.
She believes Kaczynski manipulated the system to win a plea deal that saved his life.
"It's been cleaned up. No one uses the word `murder;' they say `killing' instead. No one talks about the nails that perforated my husband's heart and shot into his brain. No one talks about the chopped-up pieces of razor blades that ripped out his stomach.
"They sanitize it by calling it a `bomb' and using words like `shrapnel' and `fragments,' but what does it mean? Does anybody have any idea what that horrible thing did to Tom? What it could have done to my children? To a house full of young people who were there the night before?"
She and Kelly, then 15 months old, were only a few feet away, preparing to play with a toy tea set that Saturday morning. Tom Mosser had curled up inside a plastic playhouse with Kelly, reading to her. The two of them crawled out, and the toddler scampered into the living room, Susan Mosser in pursuit. Kelly saw the tea set and asked if she could have a tea party.
In the kitchen, Tom Mosser picked up a package delivered the day before. "I don't recognize the return address," he said.
"Neither do I," his wife called back. Their last conversation.
When the bomb went off - "the loudest and most horrifying noise I have ever heard" - Susan Mosser and Kelly were saved by the fireplace between the kitchen and the living room. Upstairs, their other daughter, Kim, then 13, was in her room with a girlfriend, a schoolmate who had stayed over after a small party the night before. Six or seven teenagers had gathered around a piano a few feet away from the foyer table where the package had been left.
Mosser says: "I want the judge to see what I saw, to see what I still see and never stop seeing. I want him to make sure that, whatever sentence he gives, there is a record of what that man did, so that some lenient judge 20 years from now doesn't decide Kaczynski is a model prisoner and sets him free."
This is what Mosser saw after she took Kelly outside and called 911: at first, only a white, powdery mist obscuring everything in the kitchen.
The mist settled slowly, inch by inch, revealing a blasted, wrecked kitchen. As the powder dropped to the floor, finally she saw her husband, lying on his back.
"His middle was covered with blood." She ran to a chair where she had draped towels she had used to dry Kelly after her bath. One of the towels was really a baby blanket, pink and blue and yellow and imprinted with ducklings. She knelt by her husband's side and laid the baby blanket over him. It began to stain with his blood.
"You're going to be OK, Tom," she said. "Help is coming."
His eyes were open, his face blackened. Susan touched the wounded left side of his head. He moaned softly.
"I love you, Tom," she said.
Then she felt firemen's hands tug at her, insisting that she leave because gas filled the kitchen and the house could explode.
Mosser says she fears that, because Kaczynski avoided a trial by pleading guilty, court records won't reflect the horror of that morning. While she is not critical of federal prosecutors for accepting the plea, she says she believes Kaczynski and his family "manipulated" the system.
"I don't think he's insane. I think he's brilliant. Evil, but brilliant. And arrogant. His Ph.D. should have been in manipulation."
In January, the start of Kaczynski's trial was aborted twice when he objected to his lawyers' plans to introduce evidence of his mental condition. When he tried to fire his lawyers and represent himself, U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell ordered a psychiatric examination.
Burrell found the mathematician competent to stand trial but refused to allow him to represent himself. That same day, prosecutors and defense attorneys reached the deal that allowed the Unabomber to avoid the death penalty by pleading guilty.
Mosser accused Kaczynski's family of mounting a "national public-relations campaign" to create sympathy for themselves in a way that would save him from death. His younger brother, David, led the FBI to the recluse but failed to win a promise of no death penalty from federal authorities.
When prosecutors told Mosser just one juror's vote could prevent a conviction or the death penalty, she reluctantly agreed to the plea bargain.
"I've just wanted to do what was right by Tom. If that meant a trial, I would have gone through it. If this is the best way, then I will live with it - so long as no one ever lets that man out of prison."
Kaczynski did not know Thomas Mosser. Federal authorities said they believed he targeted the advertising executive out of the mistaken belief that Thomas Mosser helped Exxon restore its image after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Mosser wants the court proceedings ended. She wants to help her children get on with their lives. To help Kim, a star high-school athlete, find the best college. And to get Kelly started with school; she will begin kindergarten in the fall.
"No one knows how deeply this hurts. We smile, yes, and we can laugh, but the sadness never ends. It's always there."