French Court Delays Einhorn Ruling
BORDEAUX, France (AP) _ A French court today postponed a final ruling on a U.S. request for the extradition of an American fugitive wanted in the 1977 slaying of his girlfriend.
Ira Einhorn, 57, has been sentenced in absentia to life in prison by a Pennsylvania court for the murder of Helen ``Holly″ Maddux _ a crime he denies, even though police found her corpse stuffed in a trunk in his closet.
A prominent anti-war campaigner and New Age activist in the 1960s, Einhorn fled the United States shortly before his trial. After 16 years on the run, he was tracked down and arrested at his French home in June 1997.
Einhorn has been fighting U.S. efforts to extradite him ever since.
Judge Claude Arrighy today gave no reason for the postponement and said a new hearing would be held February 18.
Einhorn appeared in court for the hearing, wearing blue jeans and a green shirt that he didn’t tuck in. He was accompanied by his longtime Swedish companion, Anika Flodkin.
Einhorn was laughing loudly when he entered the court, apparently having shared a joke with Flodkin. When the judge read the decision, Einhorn bowed and said ``Merci, merci.″
His defense lawyers have argued that if extradited, Einhorn could face the death penalty, which is banned under French law.
A French court had refused to extradite Einhorn in December 1997, citing a French law requiring that all defendants have a retrial. Pennsylvania then passed a law promising Einhorn a retrial. He was re-arrested in September 1998, but at a subsequent court hearing, he was ordered released.
When Maddux, a former cheerleader from Tyler, Texas, vanished, Einhorn said she had gone out shopping and had never come back.
However, 18 months later, neighbors reported a stench coming from Einhorn’s apartment, and Maddux’s battered remains were found. Forensic experts said her skull had been smashed six times.