Arlen Spector died yesterday and is mourned as a political moderate in a time where partisan politics have never been so polarized.
I lived in Philadelphia when Mister Spector was District Attorney and also a private lawyer before being elected to the Senate. That was in the time of Ira Einhorn . . .
Ira was a large bearded man with a charismatic flare nicknamed The Unicorn.“The New York Times” would later write that “he had been celebrated as a leading hippie advocate of peace, mysticism and environmentalism.” He was also known as “The Love Guru” complete with credit for starting Earth Day in the Philadelphia area.
He was a man with an ego as big as his body and a dominating personality that didn’t like to take a refusal.
He had been living with a young woman from Texas by the name of Holly Maddux and after a number of splits and reconciliations, she finally said that they were through, once and for all. He called her and said that he reluctantly would give her up but pleaded that she come back to get her belongings and have one last diner with him.
Holly Maddux was never seen alive again . . .
After some months, the neighbors in the apartment below Einhorn complained of a foul odor and dark seepage through their ceiling. The police went to Einhorn’s apartment with a warrant and found a steamer trunk in a closet. They opened it and found the mummified body of a woman with her shrunken arm pressed against the lid.
An officer turned to Einhorn and said, “Looks like we found Holly” to which he responded, “You found what you found.”
The prosecution insisted that he be held without bail, noting that he was a probable flight risk. This is where Arlen Spector enters the scenario.
He was in private practice and agreed to take the case. He gathered many statements extolling Einhorn’s good deeds for the community and pointed out that he had no prior felony convictions.
To the shock of virtually everyone, bail was put at $40,000 with 10% needed in cash and the rest pledged by a Montreal woman who believed that he was innocent. Holly Maddux’s patents and her three sisters came up from Texas for the trial.
The day before the trial was to begin, Ira fled the country, first to Canada and then to Ireland, a country that has no extradition treaty with the United States. It seems that The Unicorn had done his homework before becoming a fugitive.
By a coincidence, his landlord in Ireland came to Chicago on vacation and talked about his tenant to some Chicago crime buffs. They showed the Irishman some newspaper photos of Ira who confirmed that he was him.
The Philadelphia police were notified and he was nearly caught but escaped by a few hours. The trail were dormant for a few years and then he was spotted in Sweden living with a young woman who looked stunningly like the late Holly Maddux.
Interpol was on the case and raided the farm house where they were living and broke in to find warm food on the table but the occupants had fled.
Philadelphia police told Interpol that the search should concentrate on the woman since she was beautiful, devoted to Ira and very wealthy. So the months went by and then into years . . . but then there was a hit. A woman by that name had applied for a driver’s license in a small village in France. The police surrounded the building and broke in to find Ira Enhorn, clean shaven and 100 pounds lighter but the fingerprints did not lie.
Einhorn appealed is case to the highest court in Europe, arguing that Pennsylvania had tried him in absencia when he was not present to defend himself. So Pennsylvania voided their own case and also promised the European Supreme Court that the death sentence was off the table. By now, the Philadelphia District Attorney, Lynne Abrahams, had been working this case with an obsessive mission to bring Einhorn back to justice.
He was finally extradited back to the US for trial and Lynne Abrahams, as she had promised, was at the foot of the stairs to put this handcuffs on her prisoner.
Einhorn was given a trial where his defense was that the CIA and the Secret Service had conspired to manipulate the facts against him. Holly Maddux’s parents had died by then but the three sisters were in the court room.
When the Einhorn saga came to his legal conclusion, Arlen Spector was a Senator and far far removed from the days when he had fought so hard to make certain that his client was held on a meager bail for murder.
Stories like this have no neat endings. The long wandering international manhunt for Ira Einhorn took years to play out before Molly Maddux had her justice.
Arlen Spector never mentioned the Einhorn mater over the last 30 years of his life and said that he really didn’t recall many of the details . . .