A Philadelphia jury yesterday found Ira Einhorn guilty of first degree murder for the 1977 killing of his former girlfriend Holly Maddux. The conviction carries with it an automatic lifetime prison sentence without parole.
"The Maddux family has waited 25 years to see justice done," District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Cathie Abookire said. "Justice delayed is not necessarily justice denied."
It took the jury just two and a half hours to reach the unanimous decision. The District Attorney's office points to the evidence linking Einhorn to the crime as the reason for the guilty verdict and the short deliberation.
"I don't think anyone is surprised [with the verdict] because the evidence is so strong," Abookire said. "Holly Maddux's mummified body was found in Ira Einhorn's steamer trunk in pieces in a closet locked up, and he had the only key. That's what it came down to."
Despite these facts, Einhorn maintained throughout the trial that he was innocent. Defense attorney William Cannon represented Einhorn in the trial.
Einhorn went to the stand in his own defense, but according to Abookire, the jury didn't believe his testimony.
"Ira was terrible on the stand," she said. "He was condescending and full of himself, as usual."
Einhorn, a Penn graduate and city counterculture hero during the 1970s, was arrested in 1979 for the crime after Maddux's mummified body was discovered in Einhorn's apartment, two years after she disappeared. However, Einhorn met the $40,000 bail and before his pretrial hearing fled to Europe where he had been living until 2001.
During his absence, the Philadelphia District Attorney's office tried Einhorn in absentia. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. However, he was not located until 1997, when he was found to be living in France. Even then, though, he could not be brought back to the U.S. to serve his sentence because France does not extradite criminals based on trials conducted in absentia.
Finally, in 1998, then-Governor Tom Ridge signed a new law that would allow a new trial, and a new extradition hearing resulted in Einhorn being brought back to the U.S.
Maddux's siblings traveled to France in order to testify at the hearing. The District Attorney's office credits their efforts for bringing Einhorn back to this country.
"Had they not gone to France for the second extradition hearing, we may never have gotten him back ," Abookire said. "Until that time, it was a government matter between France and the United States. But when Holly's three sisters and brothers appeared before the extradition court, it became a human issue; it put a human face on the case. That is what really made the difference."
Although Einhorn does plan to appeal, the District Attorney's office said they are confident that the conviction will be upheld.
The appeal "is standard, and we're not in the least concerned," Abookire said.
"The trial went as well as any trial has ever gone," Abookire said. "After 25 years it all came down to this moment for [Maddux's family].... This part is finally over. For a while it probably seemed like it would never be over."
Cannon could not be reached for comment last night.Comments powered by Disqus
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