April 22nd is the date for the international holiday known as Earth Day. Its proponents say it reminds us to pay homage to the planet we all share and to raise awareness for the environment. Little do they know that one of the first proponents of the holiday was involved in a brutal murder and an international manhunt that spanned decades.
If you ask anyone who celebrates it the meaning of Earth Day, they would say “combat climate change,” “environmental awareness,” or “solidarity with the planet.”
Ask them if they know the history of Earth Day and their eyes somewhat glaze over.
The environmentally-themed holiday was proposed by John McConnell, a Left-wing activist who led the charge for Earth Day’s creation at the 1969 UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, California. A year later, Senator Gaylord Anton Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, picked up the message and helped make Earth Day gain prominence in the United States, earning himself a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work.
The first Earth Day celebration occurred in several cities in the United States including the one held at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The event featured several prominent speakers including poet Allen Ginsburg and third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
One of the events organizers was man named Ira Einhorn, a well-known radical Leftist and environmentalist whom his friends called the “Unicorn,” a play on the German translation of his surname. He was a teacher at a nearby university and vocal supporter of the 60’s counter culture movement. It was with him that the holiday would take a dark twist.
Einhorn participated in the organization of the gathering and would go on to act as emcee of the live broadcast for the Earth Day rally in Philadelphia.
Two years later, he met Helen “Holly” Maddux, a fellow activist from Tyler, Texas. They would break-up in 1977 after Holly moved to New York City. She would return on September 9th of that year to get her things from the apartment they shared. She was never seen again.
Einhorn would deny any involvement with her disappearance, claiming she never returned after going to a farmer’s market to buy groceries.
On March 28, 1979, the police searched Einhorn’s apartment after detecting a foul smell. Local law enforcement found Holly’s body in a trunk he kept hidden in a closet. When they arrested him, Einhorn is reported as saying, “You found what you found.” The press would later dub him the “Unicorn Killer.”
His attorney, future Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Spector, got his client a reduced bail, which he proceeded to skip and flee to Europe where he remained hidden for almost twenty years. He was convicted in absentia in 1993 and sentenced to life in prison. During the manhunt, he was the subject of an episode of the hit television series “America’s Most Wanted.”
In 1997, Einhorn was found living in France, married to German national Annika Flodin under the pseudonym Eugene Mallon. The European nation was hesitant to extradite him, believing he could receive the death penalty, which the French government had abolished, despite his earlier sentence in 1993.
The US government began negotiations for his extradition, which Einhorn fought vigorously, but after an appearance before the European Court of Human Rights, he was extradited to the United States.
Choosing to defend himself, Einhorn claimed that the CIA had murdered Holly to frame him for the crime because of his activism and his alleged research into their activities.
On October 17, 2002, after only two hours of deliberation, a jury found Einhorn guilty and sentenced him to a mandatory life term without the possibility of parole. He is currently serving the remainder of his time at the Laurel Highlands state correctional institution in Pennsylvania.
Earth Day activists have since tried to distance themselves from the Unicorn Killer, with the mainstream media all eager to go along with the revisionist narrative. However, this dark chapter in its history continues to cast a shadow of murder and death on the beloved environmentalist holiday.
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