Ira Einhorn, Counterculture Guru and Murderer, Dies in Prison at 79

Ira Einhorn, Counterculture Guru and Murderer, Dies in Prison at 79

Ira Einhorn was the darling of Philadelphia’s counterculture in the 1960s and ‘70s. A charismatic and flamboyant personality, he preached peace, enjoy and environmentalism, and became a sought-immediately after liaison in encouraging the city’s civic institution grasp the upheavals in society.

Then his former girlfriend, Holly Maddux, who experienced remaining him, disappeared. Virtually a yr and a 50 percent later on, the police found her mummified remains in a steamer trunk in his condominium.

He was charged in 1979 with her murder. But before his pretrial listening to, he fled to Europe, eventually marrying a wealthy Swedish heiress, Annika Flodin, and settling down in a transformed windmill in France.

Much more than two decades later on, after prolonged and convoluted extradition negotiations, in which he grew to become a human rights bring about célèbre in France, he was sent back to Philadelphia to stand demo. A jury swiftly convicted him and he was sentenced to lifestyle in prison with out parole.

Mr. Einhorn experienced been in prison for virtually 18 several years when he died on April 3 in the State Correctional Establishment Laurel Highlands in southwestern Pennsylvania. He was 79.

The Somerset County coroner, Wally Miller, claimed in a mobile phone job interview that Mr. Einhorn died of longstanding cardiac complications, unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic.

His loss of life introduced an finish to a bizarre melodrama that troubled Philadelphians for a long time and drew around the world attention.

“The chapter is finally, for real, closed,” Elizabeth Corridor, just one of Ms. Maddux’s sisters, instructed The Philadelphia Inquirer last week.

“I consider a whole lot of persons in Philadelphia were ready to hear” that he had died, she reported. “He became portion of the city’s consciousness in an unappealing way.”

In 1972 he began a five-12 months partnership with Ms. Maddux, who was from Tyler, Texas, and experienced graduated from close by Bryn Mawr College. Her loved ones in no way appreciated him, thinking of him a bully, and in 1977, she left him and moved to New York.

He was furious and demanded that she occur back again to Philadelphia to retrieve her belongings or he would throw them into the avenue. She came back again. And then she vanished. She was 30.

Mr. Einhorn denied any involvement in her disappearance, declaring she had absent out to the neighborhood co-op to get some tofu and sprouts and had by no means returned.

He was later charged with murder. It was a measure of Mr. Einhorn’s means to make significant connections that his law firm was Arlen Specter, the city’s former district lawyer who was then in private follow and went on to come to be a United States Senator.

Mr. Specter managed to get Mr. Einhorn’s bail lessened to $40,000. To be released from custody, he experienced to put up only 10 p.c, or $4,000. It was paid out by a Canadian socialite, 1 of many nicely-off individuals who supported him economically and who doubted he could have been included in murder.

Ira Samuel Einhorn was born on May possibly 15, 1940, in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1961 with a main in English.

A significant burly person with a total beard and electric blue eyes, he was an early avatar of the counterculture steeped in consciousness-raising, ecological consciousness and illicit psychedelic drugs. He dropped acid as early as 1958 and later started out a rescue provider for men and women in the throes of bad journeys. He also taught a sequence of cost-free courses, together with “Analogues to the LSD Experience.”

The Village Voice called him “indisputably Philadelphia’s head hippie,” and the city’s “number one particular freak.” He captivated a vast variety of buddies, from the Yippies Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman to corporate executives and civic do-gooders.

“Ira waxed eloquent about what was happening in the planet,” Sam Katz, a previous mayoral applicant and Philadelphia entrepreneur, explained in a cellphone interview.

“It was the age of Aquarius and the Vietnam War and the era gap, and he was articulate and dynamic and quite approachable,” Mr. Katz explained. Mr. Einhorn became a bridge involving the anti-institution and the institution, he explained, generally talking at civic gatherings.

But his darker side and a monumental moi have been rising, most noticeably in the course of the initial Earth Working day celebration in 1970, when 20 million men and women across the state collected to attract interest to environmental troubles.

As two environmental activists afterwards wrote in an op-ed in The Inquirer, Mr. Einhorn had designed himself unwelcome at organizational meetings in advance of Earth Working day and then at the real function, he “grabbed the microphone and refused to give up the podium for 30 minutes, imagining he would get some cost-free tv publicity.”

He later on falsely claimed to have been a founder of Earth Working day, a title commonly accorded to Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Democrat.

Mr. Einhorn was also domineering with women and could come to be violent if he was turned down. The media claimed that at one place he strangled a lady right until she was unconscious. At a further, he strike a woman over the head with a bottle.

Following Ms. Maddux vanished, he carried on as in advance of. He continued to give speeches and in 1978 invested a semester at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy Faculty of Govt.

Discouraged at the deficiency of development in finding their daughter, the Maddux household hired a personal investigator. By then, neighbors claimed a stench coming from Mr. Einhorn’s condominium and a liquid leaking into the apartment under.

When the police searched the condominium in 1979, they discovered Ms. Maddux’s decomposed physique in a trunk in a closet. Her cranium experienced been fractured in at the very least 6 spots by a blunt object.

Mr. Einhorn was charged with murder and a demo was set for 1981, when he fled. The Philadelphia District Lawyer made a decision to consider him in 1993 in any case, in absentia, a exceptional proceeding but 1 the city felt may bring the circumstance to closure.The jury speedily observed him guilty, and the decide sentenced him to lifetime devoid of parole.

The situation ongoing to seize the public’s imagination. Mr. Einhorn experienced dubbed himself “the unicorn,” due to the fact his title in German intended “one horn,” and he grew to become the topic of a 1988 ebook by Steven Levy named “The Unicorn’s Key: A Murder in the Age of Aquarius.”

As a ailment for his extradition, he was granted a next trial, in the course of which he took the stand. He mentioned that the C.I.A. experienced killed Ms. Maddux and planted her entire body in his apartment in an try to body him mainly because he knew also considerably about military services investigate into the paranormal.

He was found guilty and all over again sentenced to everyday living in jail without parole.

The parting thoughts of all those in the courtroom were not variety.

A juror explained that he had a God complicated. The presiding decide known as him “an mental dilettante” who preyed on individuals.

The district attorney, Lynne Abraham, claimed, “Metaphorically talking, Ira Einhorn and his Virgo moon are toast.”

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