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1982 Tylenol Poisonings: Feds Want Unabomber's DNA

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 25, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Ted Kaczynski is receiving an inordinate amount of media attention lately, but this time, instead of selling off his possessions, the FBI is requesting the Unabomber's DNA, hoping that the biomaterial will end its investigation into the 1982 Tylenol poisonings.

With a denied request, the FBI's only option now is to obtain a court order compelling Kaczynski to provide a genetic sample.

This applies even though he's already in prison.

The 1982 Tylenol poisonings describes a set of events in which seven people died after taking Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide.

As part of a renewed investigation, Reuters reports that the Bureau is seeking DNA evidence from numerous individuals. It is requesting a new sample of the Unabomber's DNA because of changes in technology.

Though a prisoner often gives up certain Constitutional rights, courts have generally held, that outside of initial DNA acquisition upon arrest/conviction, law enforcement must obtain warrant should an inmate deny a sample of his DNA.

In order to obtain a warrant for the Unabomber's DNA, the FBI will have to demonstrate that it has probable cause. This means there must be sufficient evidence to connect him to the 1982 Tylenol poisonings.

Kaczynski doesn't think that the FBI has that evidence, as Reuters reports that he insists that he never possessed potassium cyanide.

And in an even stranger twist, he reportedly agreed to provide a DNA sample if the FBI would stop the ongoing online auction of his possessions, which he also says would prove his assertion.

At this juncture, it doesn't look like anyone is going to get their way; the FBI likely won't get the Unabomber's DNA to help solve the 1982 Tylenol poisonings, and it's incredibly unlikely that Ted Kaczynski will ever stop the auction.

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