Jury Orders Einhorn to Pay $907 Million in Damages
Wednesday, July 28, 1999
PHILADELPHIA, July 28 — A Philadelphia jury on Wednesday levied $907 million in damages against former hippie guru Ira Einhorn for the 1977 murder of his girlfriend, Helen “Holly” Maddux.
The panel of five men, one woman and two male alternates deliberated for one and three quarter hours to reach the verdict after being instructed by the civil trial judge to assume Einhorn guilty of the 1977 slaying. The verdict included $155 million in compensatory damages and $752 million in punitive damages.
Einhorn, 59, who lives in France with his Swedish-born wife, has been accused of bludgeoning Maddux to death and stuffing her body into a trunk that sat reeking in his closet until its discovery 18 months later.
The one-time radical who hobnobbed with 1960s luminaries like Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin jumped bail just before his 1981 murder trial and was captured in France in 1997, four years after being convicted of murder in absentia.
Einhorn’s extradition was ordered in May by a French court. French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has only to sign the papers to return him to the United States for a new trial.
The Maddux family filed a wrongful death suit shortly after Einhorn’s capture in France in order to head off any attempt by him to turn his life story into lucrative book, movie or TV deals.
Addendum: The $907 million verdict was the largest judgment ever against a single individual. The firm took the case for free when they learned that Einhorn was planning to write a book, which would have handsomely compensated him for telling his story. The judgment effectively precludes Einhorn from ever seeing a penny in profit from his horrible crime.