A former hippie guru who lived the high life in Europe for years after murdering his ex-girlfriend in Philadelphia in the 1970s has died in prison.
Ira Einhorn, 79, died early Friday in a state prison in western Pennsylvania of natural causes, according to Susan McNaughton, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections. The death at SCI-Laurel Highlands was not related to the COVID-19 virus, she said.
Einhorn was serving life in prison after being convicted twice — once in absentia — for the murder of Holly Maddux, who disappeared in 1977. Eighteen months later, her mummified remains were found in a locked steamer trunk in the West Philadelphia apartment they shared.
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Einhorn vanished just before his trial in 1981, and was convicted in absentia in 1993. He was living under assumed names across Europe before he was finally caught in 1997 in a converted windmill in France, where he lived with his Swedish-born wife.
He was brought back to the United States four years later, after the French government was assured he would be given a new trial and not face the death penalty. He was convicted again at a high-profile trial in 2002.
Afterward, one juror said Einhorn had a God complex and the district attorney mocked his image as an Age of Aquarius wise man. Judge William J. Mazzola called him “an intellectual dilettante” who preyed on people.
Friends and family members of the then 30-year-old Maddux said she had been planning to leave Einhorn before she disappeared.
Einhorn, the final trial witness, acknowledged that Maddux had complained about his womanizing, but he denied killing her and said he was surprised when her remains were found in his closet.
After the verdict, District Attorney Lynne Abraham said: “Metaphorically speaking, Ira Einhorn and his Virgo moon are toast.”