PHILADELPHIA – While continuing to fight extradition, American fugitive Ira Einhorn believes he could win acquittal on murder charges if he was brought back to Philadelphia.
Einhorn fled to France in 1981, soon before he was to stand trial for the 1977 bludgeoning death of his girlfriend, Holly Maddux. Her corpse was found stuffed in a trunk inside a closet of the Philadelphia apartment she shared with Einhorn.
Now Einhorn believes he could have proved his innocence.
"(Fleeing) was immature, I admit it now, because I think we could have won," he told The Philadelphia Inquirer in an interview at his home in Champagne-Mouton.
Einhorn also adamantly denied killing his girlfriend in the interview published in the newspaper's Sunday editions.
"No, no, I did not kill Holly Maddux, no," Einhorn said. In the past, the 61-year-old former hippie has maintained that the charges stemmed from a government conspiracy against him.
In 1993, Einhorn was sentenced in absentia to life in prison. The United States made its initial request for extradition in 1997, after police tracked him to Champagne-Mouton.
On Thursday, Einhorn lost an appeal before France's highest administrative body, but soon afterward learned his extradition would be delayed for a week at the request of the European Court of Human Rights, while the panel looks at the case.
"We have a very good chance of winning in the European Court," Einhorn said.
If he is returned to Pennsylvania, Einhorn's conviction under state law would be set aside and a new trial held.
Thursday's temporary setback prompted Einhorn to slit his throat in an apparent suicide attempt.
He told the Inquirer the suicide attempt was genuine, not a publicity stunt or an attempt to delay extradition.
He said he had always planned to kill himself if he believed extradition was imminent and failed only because the knife was too dull.