LOS ANGELES -- Muharem Kurbegovic, the 'Alphabet Bomber' convicted of placing a bomb at International Airport in 1974 that killed three persons and injured 35 others, urged a judge to sentence him to 1,000 years in prison, but instead was given a life term.
The Yugoslav immigrant sarcastically asked Superior Court Judge Nancy Watson Monday, 'can't I have 1,000 years so I can have something to look forward to?'
But Judge Watson gave him the maximum possible sentence, life in prison with possibility of parole, and said it was her intention that he 'spend the rest of his life in prison.'
The defendant was not eligible for the death sentence because the bombing occurred before California's death penalty law was enacted.
Kurbegovic, whom prosecutor Dinko Bozanovich called 'the most dangerous man in custody in California today,' will be eligible for parole in August, but officials said it was 'not likely' he would be released at that time.
He was also convicted of charges involving an attempted bombing at a downtown bus terminal two weeks after the airport blast in August 1974 and of the firebombing of several local officials' homes the previous year.
Judge Watson gave him lesser terms on those charges but stayed the sentences pending appeals.
Kurbegovic's eight-month trial, delayed for several years on grounds of mental incompetence, was punctuated by bizarre courtroom antics, including rambling discourses in which he claimed to be the Messiah and outbursts directed at reporters, attorneys and Superior Court Judge Nancy Watson.
He tried to make several impromptu motions, asking that he be given a new trial because 'my illness has prevented me from spitting in Judge Nancy Watson's face every time she so ordered me by her behavior-language to do so.'
At his sentencing, Kurbegovic sarcastically applauded the prosecutor's remarks, made faces at reporters and television cameras covering the trial and once held up a handwritten sign reading, 'I shall return.'
Kurbegovic, 37, was convicted Oct. 16 on 25 counts of murder, arson, attempted murder, possession of explosives and exploding a bomb.
He was tagged the 'Alphabet Bomber' because he promised in taped communiques to explode bombs at locations spelling out the name of a fictitious group he claimed to head -- Aliens of America -- 'until our name has been written across this nation with blood.'