'Head Hippie' Murderer of 1970s Dies in Prison

Ira Einhorn, a counterculture leader in Philadelphia, killed girlfriend and fled to France
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2020 11:47 AM CDT
'Unicorn Killer' of 1970s Dies in Prison
In this 2001 file photo, Ira Einhorn is taken away by French police in Champagne-Mouton, central France to be extradited to the United States.   (AP Photo/Bob Edme, File)

A high-profile murderer known as the "Unicorn Killer" in the 1970s has died in a Pennsylvania state prison, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Ira Einhorn, 79, died of natural causes unrelated to the coronavirus outbreak. Einhorn killed his girlfriend, Holly Maddux, in 1977, but police didn't find her remains (in a trunk in his attic) until nearly two years later. Before trial, Einhorn fled to France, where he remained a fugitive for two decades until his extradition back to the US, where he was convicted of murder. Before fleeing the US, Einhorn "was the darling of Philadelphia’s counterculture in the 1960s and ‘70s," according to the New York Times. The story notes that the Village Voice once dubbed him "indisputably Philadelphia’s head hippie."

In that era, Einhorn made a name for himself in the nationwide counterculture movement. “It was the age of Aquarius and the Vietnam War and the generation gap, and he was articulate and dynamic and very approachable,” Philly entrepreneur Sam Katz tells the Times. Einhorn and Maddux had broken up after five years, and she disappeared after returning to Philadelphia to get her belongings out of Einhorn's place. Einhorn claimed the CIA killed Maddux and then framed him because he knew military secrets about paranormal research. The jury didn't buy it. The "Unicorn Killer" nickname came about because Einhorn referred to himself as the Unicorn, a German translation of his last name. (More Philadelphia stories.)

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