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Murder of Holly Maddux by Ira Einhorn, aka the Unicorn Killer, examined on People Magazine Investigates

Mugshot of Ira Einhorn
Ira Einhorn was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his ex-girlfriend, Holly Maddux. Pic credit: Wikimedia Commons

People Magazine Investigates is examining the 1977 murder of Holly Maddux by her ex-boyfriend Ira Einhorn in his Philadelphia apartment.

Einhorn was a semi-famous environmental and antiwar activist and hippie guru, who counted the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia and radical activist Abbie Hoffman among his friends, but he was also a killer who managed to escape justice for two and a half decades.

Ira Einhorn became known as the Unicorn Killer because of his surname, which means ‘unicorn’ in German.

Einhorn met Maddux in Philadelphia in 1972, and the pair embarked on a 5-year romance that was filled with travel, rallies, and parties. However, the relationship soured, and Maddux decided to end things and moved to New York.

A few months later, on September 9, 1977, Maddux went back to the Philadelphia apartment she had shared with Einhorn to pick up some of her belonging and was not seen alive again.

After the 30-year-old Texan was reported missing, the police questioned Einhorn about her disappearance. He told them she’d been to the apartment but had left to get groceries and never returned.

The cops remained suspicious of Einhorn, and when his neighbors began reporting a pungent bad odor emanating from his home, the police decided to investigate further. They made a gruesome discovery when they found Maddux’s partially mummified remains in a trunk in a closet.

Ira Einhorn fled to Europe days before Holly Maddux murder trial

Einhorn was arrested, but incredibly, some of his wealthy pals chipped in the cash to get him released on bail. He was due to begin his murder trial in 1981, but unfortunately, he fled to Europe just a few days before he was due in court. The Maddux family would have to wait another 25 years for justice.

In 1996, the killer was sentenced in absentia and was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole. In the meantime, he got on with his life in Europe, unmolested by law officials.

Einhorn was eventually arrested in 1997 while living in a converted windmill in France. Unfortunately, the extradition process to the USA was painfully slow as the French insisted on assurances that he would not be executed.

He was eventually brought back to America in 2001 and, once again, stood trial for murder. He was convicted again and sentenced to life in prison in 2002.

During his trial, Einhorn insisted that he was innocent and that he was being framed by the CIA because he supposedly knew too much about their work on paranormal activity. He died in jail in April 2020.

More from People Magazine Investigates

Follow the links to read about more tragic and brutal crimes profiled on People Magazine Investigates.

Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman were two teenagers friends who vanished without a trace after Ashley’s parents, Danny and Kathy Freeman, were brutally murdered in Welch, Oklahoma. It’s assumed that the girls were kidnapped and killed by Warren Welch, Ronnie Busick, and David Pennington.

Rodney Reed was convicted of murdering teenager Stacey Stites in rural Texas in 1996. However, in a case shrouded in racial tension and prejudice, there is growing doubt that Reed’s conviction was deserved.

People Magazine Investigates airs at 8/7c on Investigation Discovery.

Jerry was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, but is now based in the UK. He specializes in true crime and entertainment news stories. When not writing for Monsters and Critics he loves watching...read more

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