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RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (AP) - The cabin from the Montana mountains where Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski constructed his deadly bombs was spared its own destruction Thursday.

Kaczynski transferred ownership of the cabin to an investigator on his defense team, who decided not to dismantle it. There was no immediate explanation for why the dismantling didn't happen as planned.

The cabin was trucked from the woods outside Lincoln, Mont., to Sacramento for Kaczynski's federal trial. It has since been housed at the former Mather Air Force Base by a company that specializes in the secure storage of critical evidence and sensitive material.

Acting on information from Kaczynski's brother, FBI agents arrested Kaczynski at the cabin in April 1996 for a string of package bombings that killed three people and injured 23 from 1978 to 1995.

Kaczynski ended his trial with a plea agreement in which he accepted a prison sentence of four life terms plus 30 years in exchange for avoiding the death penalty. He is now in a maximum-security federal prison in Colorado.

Kaczynski built the one-room plywood cabin and lived a Spartan existence in it for a quarter of a century after he bought the 1.4-acre site in 1971.

In 2000 he decided to sell the property to Joy Richards, who lived n Lincoln, and a federal judge approved the sale. She had corresponded with Kaczynski since his arrest.

Kaczynski's brother, David, owned an interest in the property because he had loaned Kaczynski $2,000 that was never repaid. David Kaczynski, who lives in Schenectady, N.Y., said he did not intend to sell his portion to Richards.

Tax records valued Kaczynski's property at $19,600.

Richards said an appraiser had set the value at $15,000 in its entirety.

Richards said she loved the Lincoln area and hoped to build a house on the land: "I want to preserve it. This way, I can be sure it won't be logged or destroyed in some other way."

Kaczynski's federal defender, Quin Denvir, sought approval for the sale. He said he disliked the thought that the site might be "turned into a theme park."

"That would distress the victims," he said.

Copyright © 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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