Einhorn Back on U.S. Soil After 20 Years as Fugitive

Twenty years after he fled justice for bludgeoning his girlfriend to death, international fugitive Ira Einhorn was brought back to the U.S. in shackles Friday.

Einhorn, 61, arrived at Philadelphia International Airport at around 4 a.m., wearing a bulletproof vest and under armed guard. Only hours before, he had been taken into custody at his home in rural France and put on a flight in Paris.

It was the latest stage in a seemingly interminable contest of wills that had the U.S. and French justice systems clashing. Einhorn was extradited only after a European court refused to halt his return, and after the U.S. guaranteed that he will get a new trial and not be given the death penalty if he is again found guilty of murder.

Einhorn was already convicted in absentia, but it is a French requirement that foreign nationals not be extradited based on trials in absentia.

As he got off the plane, a spectator yelled, "Justice for Holly Maddux!" Her mummified body was found stuffed in a trunk in the couple's apartment in 1979, 18 months after Einhorn said she went to the store and never returned. She was 30 when she disappeared.

"I hope this has actually wiped that smirk off his face that we've had to look at for four years, and I'm sure he'll enjoy his stay in the Pennsylvania penal system," Maddux's sister Elizabeth "Buffy" Hall, said. "It's our time to smirk."

"Holly's day is now beginning," another sister, Meg Wakeman, said.

The more than eight-hour flight "was basically uneventful," U.S. Marshal Al Lewis said. Einhorn was accompanied by three deputy U.S. marshals, an FBI agent, a Philadelphia homicide detective and a physician.

"Until he was put in handcuffs and in the safe hands of the Marshal Service, I wasn't completely convinced that he was actually coming," Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham said. "And I also wasn't convinced until the plane touched down ... that he would ever get here."

She said it was too soon to tell when he might be tried.

Einhorn was taken to a federal courthouse and then transferred to a maximum-security state prison near Philadelphia.

The extradition ended two decades of flight for Einhorn, a former anti-war activist, one-time mayoral candidate and self-described "planetary enzyme."

Though he dressed in a dashiki and dirty jeans, sported a full beard and shoulder-length hair, Einhorn established a successful place as a New Age corporate guru-consultant in the 1970s with a global network of scientists, corporate sponsors and wealthy benefactors.

At his preliminary hearing in April 1979, after Maddux's body was found, the courtroom was packed with professors, lawyers, civic leaders and other prominent Philadelphians who wanted to testify about his good character.

He was free on $40,000 bail when he boarded a plane for London with a new girlfriend in 1981, shortly before he was to stand trial. He lived in England, Ireland and Sweden under pseudonyms before he was arrested in France in 1997.

Philadelphia authorities had tried him in absentia and he was convicted in 1993. A year after he was caught, Pennsylvania passed a law providing for a retrial to satisfy the French government's opposition to trials in absentia.

Einhorn continued to vigorously fight his return. He denies killing Maddux and has said he was framed by the CIA.

Einhorn's legal options were exhausted Thursday, when the European Court of Human Rights dropped a request it made a week earlier for a delay in the extradition.

Einhorn had slit his throat last week when he lost his last French appeal. But he was not seriously injured, and the European court said Thursday in its decision that Einhorn was fit to travel.

France quickly decided to go ahead with the extradition.

Moments after the ruling, Einhorn emerged from his converted-windmill home in the southwestern village of Champagne-Mouton.

"I'm innocent," he declared. "I will be happy to go to the U.S. if the court gives me a new trial."

As police drove him away, he waved to his tearful wife, Annika, who leaned on a defense lawyer for support. The convoy left under heavy guard.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.