Some testimony highlights included David Kaczynski, who spent a great deal of time telling his very moving and unusual story. He described how in the mid-nineties he and his wife began to wonder with dread if it was possible that the Unabomber could be his brother, Ted. He had to choose between endangering his brother's life, by alerting the FBI to his concerns, knowing that should be his brother be convicted he might well face the death penalty, or possibly endangering other innocent people who might be the victims of future bombings should he not intervene. He eventually did call the FBI, Ted was captured and convicted, and David and his family were relieved that a plea bargain spared him the death penalty, giving him a sentence of life without parole. David testified that if he and his family had had to see Ted executed, he's not sure his family would have emotionally survived the ordeal of Ted's conviction. He also added that law enforcement officers violated the confidentiality they had promised David and his family, causing the media to expose a number of details that David and his mother had shared with the FBI.
"Many people in the audience were interested in what was going on in New York State and wanted to get more involved. David [Kacynski] let them know that many of the Assemblymen are very unsure what New Yorkers want and that it would be a good use of their time to let their legislators know their thoughts."
David Kacynski and Deadline director Katy Chevigny hosted a discussion about the New York State death penalty Tuesday night in the Albany Public Library. "The great thing about some public libraries, like this one, is the link the library sets up between the community, the library staff and the resources of the building and its contents," Chevigny writes.
The accelerating momentum towards overturning the Death Penalty should be a huge story, but it's barely been covered in the New York City press. Luckily for us, the authors of the Deadline Blog are documenting the story. Like the hearing room in the Albany Public Library, the weblog is a public space where people from far and wide have gathered to discuss this issue that is often backgrounded by politicians and press on both sides of the debate.