Lawyers plot strategy that could keep hippie guru in France for years
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ It took 16 years to capture hippie guru-turned murderer Ira Einhorn, and another year or more could go by before he is returned to Philadelphia.
His attorneys plan to fight Einhorn’s extradition from France by claiming his rights were violated when a jury decided he had killed his girlfriend, Helen ``Holly″ Maddux, in 1977.
Legal experts predict that will be a tough sell.
Einhorn wasn’t present when he was tried and sentenced to life in prison in 1993 because he had jumped bail and fled to Europe 12 years earlier.
``Should he not prevail with his extradition fight ... my guess is that there may be new legal ground at least sought to be broken,″ William Costopoulos, a Harrisburg defense attorney, said Tuesday. ``This case is unique.″
A treaty between France and the United States calls for extradition within 40 days. But attorneys agree that Einhorn’s longtime counsel, Norris E. Gelman, and the international law expert he has called in to help, Theodore Simon, could delay the extradition for months or years.
``My guess is that (Einhorn) ultimately would be brought back here,″ Philadelphia attorney Richard Atkins said. However, ``it could get tied up in the courts for awhile.″
Under Pennsylvania law, Einhorn forfeited his right to appeal by becoming a fugitive, and his deadlines for post-conviction relief have expired.
District Attorney Lynne Abraham, whose office will submit extradition papers this week, says Einhorn would begin serving his life sentence immediately upon his return.
However, French and U.S. authorities could reach an agreement under which Einhorn is sent back only if he is promised a new trial, Atkins said.
Einhorn, 57, was captured Friday by French police at a converted windmill in Champaign-Mouton, a town in the Bordeaux region where he is believed to have lived since late 1992 with companion Anika Flodin.
He was using the alias Eugene Mallon, a name borrowed from an Irish friend, and denied he was Einhorn, police said. But fingerprints gave him away.
Einhorn fled to Ireland in 1981 after he was charged with slaying Ms. Maddux, who friends say had been trying to end their relationship. Police found her mummified remains stuffed into a trunk in Einhorn’s closet in 1979, 18 months after she disappeared.
Before his arrest, Einhorn was a friend of Philadelphia’s rich and powerful who transformed himself from anti-war activist into a futurist sought by Fortune 500 companies.