Ira Einhorn

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Ira Einhorn

Ira Einhorn (byname: the Unicorn) was a leading liberal icon and activist of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the late-1960s through the 1970s, advocating free love, ecology, and claiming to be a founder of Earth Day in 1970; however, he is best known for the brutal murder of his former girlfriend (Holly Maddux) and his escape from justice for nearly two decades.

Early life

Einhorn was born May 15, 1940 to a middle-class Jewish family, and upon graduating high school he enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania; during his time there he was part of the anti-war movement against United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and became friends with many radicals, including Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman. On April 22, 1970, Einhorn "claimed" to have been the founder of Earth Day - going to the point of taking the stage at the Philadelphia opening to upstage the moment - despite the fact that it was created by Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson.

Holly Maddux

During this time he met a young Texan, Holly Maddux, and engaged in a five-year live-in relationship. The contrast between the two was that of total opposites: Maddux, small, petite, and quiet, from a conservative Texas family; and Einhorn, an outspoken, charismatic liberal who was not only overweight for his tie-died T-shirts, but rarely bathed. Einhorn exercised a form of control over her, causing her to leave him for New York City in 1977.

When Einhorn found out she was involved in another relationship, he called her to come back to Philadelphia to claim her belongings; when she arrived back she vanished. Police investigators were told that she arrived, picked up her things, and left. In 1979, some 18 months after she disappeared and responding to numerous complaints of a foul liquid and odors seeping from Einhorn's apartment, homicide detectives gained a search warrant and found a steamer trunk under Holly's belongings inside a locked closet; within the trunk was Holly's mummified corpse. When one of the detectives turned to Einhorn and said that Holly was found, the response was "You found what you found." [1]

Einhorn was represented by future senator Arlen Specter, who succeeded in getting the judge to set bail at $40,000; in advance of the trial Einhorn was released when a mere 10 percent of the bond was paid. Einhorn skipped bail just before trial began in 1981, hiding out in several countries in Europe, and supported for years by activist friends while on the run. In 1993 he was convicted in absentia and received the death penalty; despite this he married Annika Flodin of Sweden, and settled in the Champagne district of France under the name "Eugene Mallon".

Return to the U.S.

Einhorn was eventually tracked down by numerous tips to France in 1997, where he was hounded by journalists as well as the host of the television show America's Most Wanted, who demanded he do the honorable thing and turn himself in. During this time his case came under review by the French authorities, who determined that he committed a crime passionnel [2][3], meaning it was a crime of passion and that he didn't deserve more than the minimal punishment for Maddux's murder. Conservative America, asserted the Le Vrai Journal, had condemned Einhorn needlessly, out of political necessity; the journal not once had referred to Maddux as a human being. [4].

Meanwhile, as demands for Einhorn's extradition increased, French authorities determined in November 1997 that Einhorn was free to remain in France, citing the possibility that he would not face a fair trail, as well as the cloud of the death penalty; the judge signing the order had reservations about the "fairness" of his previous trial in absentia. Journalist Steven Levy, writing for Newsweek, stated the obvious lament as the Unicorn went free once again:

"Einhorn's new life began on Friday, when he and his bride zipped into Champagne-Mouton in her red Fiat. Until his legal status is resolved, it is a trip he will have to make twice a week, to check in with the local police department; otherwise, he will work at home on the five manuscripts he is allegedly preparing for publication, and resume his habit of surfing the Internet, perhaps for the first time under his real name. Einhorn and his wife doggedly ignored the American reporters following them, instead ostentatiously bantering with the merchants as they purchased goat cheese, pate, and a copy of the International Herald Tribune. Noting the photographers snapping pictures of Ira and Annika as they bought their vegetables, the vendor joked that they could use the shots to make a photo album. "For Christmas," Ira said." [5]

While Einhorn was gloating over his new-found freedom, prosecutors were once more at work in new extradition attempts; in 1998 the governor of Pennsylvania signed provisions for a new trial which left the death penalty off the table [6]; in July 2000 the extradition order was signed, but appeals again delayed the transfer. Another year would pass before he was forced to board a plane bound for Philadelphia, but not before Einhorn staged another politically-motivated stunt: he slashed his neck with a razor, then called a press conference.

"Psycotronics" and other government programs was Einhorn's defense at his trial, as he once more tried to shift blame from himself to the U.S. government over Maddux's death; it was CIA agents who stuffed her body in the trunk and placed it in his closet, he insisted. It took the jury less than two hours to find him guilty of murder, and he was sent to a state prison in Pennsylvania to serve a life sentence.