Ira Einhorn, the prominent environmentalist activist who helped found “Earth Day” in 1970, died last Friday in a Pennsylvania prison where he was serving a life sentence for the 1977 murder of his girlfriend.
Einhorn, 79, died of natural causes.
Einhorn murdered Helen “Holly” Maddux when broke up with him and returned to their apartment to gather her things, hiding her body in a trunk where it was “composting.” Her family reported her missing and police interviewed Einhorn, who claimed she went to the store to buy tofu and never returned.
Police discovered her body 18 months later when his downstairs neighbor complained about a foul-smelling liquid leaking through his ceiling from Einhorn’s apartment.
When confronted with the body, Einhorn simply told police “You found what you found.”
Out on bail and awaiting trial, Einhorn fled to Europe in 1981 and went into hiding, while environmentalists and other leftists held parades and fundraising events in support of him. Supported by cash from liberal supporters, Einhorn hid from authorities throughout Europe, living under a variety of fake identities.
Einhorn had cultivated the support of the left as a leading figure in the left-wing “hippie” movements of the 1960s and 1970s, where he referred to himself as “Unicorn” and helped established the first “Earth Day” celebrations in Philadelphia.
He was eventually arrested in France in 1997, twenty years after the murder. Extradited to the United States to stand trial, numerous left-wing celebrities still defended him, including singer Peter Gabriel, actress Ellen Burstyn and Edward Bacon, father of actor Kevin Bacon.
Einhorn claimed he was framed by CIA agents, who murdered his girlfriend for exposing their paranormal research. Jurors didn’t buy it, and Einhorn was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.