The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, October 02, 2002  

Ira Einhorn’s Attorney Plays the Gay Card

Let’s see if you can read between the lines.

Below are excerpts from an article in today’s edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Einhorn Lawyer Asks Women About Feelings for Maddux,” by Jacqueline Soteropoulos.

Trying to establish a pattern of domestic violence that ultimately turned fatal when Holly Maddux decided to leave Ira Einhorn, prosecutors have called several women to testify about the telltale marks and bruises they observed on their friend in the years before she vanished in 1977.

But yesterday, during the second day of testimony in Einhorn’s murder trial, his defense attorney aggressively questioned two of the women about their own marital situations and impressions of Maddux.

“They seem to be, all be, the kind of ladies who are part of the pro-feminism movement, who might be termed man-haters,” William Cannon later told reporters. “I felt that these witnesses might have a bias against men in general.”

Cannon also said he detected a “flavor” of sexual attraction to Maddux from some of the testimony.

Genie O’Brien, who testified that she twice saw Maddux with facial bruises when they worked at a food cooperative in the 1970s, ridiculed Cannon’s suggestions.

“Desperate people do desperate things. The defense is very desperate,” O’Brien said after leaving the witness stand. “I think it just shows they have nothing substantive.”

Einhorn, 62, is accused of bludgeoning his former girlfriend and stuffing her body into a steamer trunk. Investigators discovered the trunk and its grisly contents locked inside Einhorn’s Powelton Village apartment in 1979, 18 months after the 30-year-old had disappeared.

Both male and female witnesses testified about Maddux’s blond and slender beauty.

O’Brien told the jury: “I always remember Holly as being very beautiful, winsome, demure... . I always kind of thought of her as Grace Kelly in blue jeans and a flannel shirt.”

But outside the courtroom, after listening to Cannon’s suggestions of attraction or anti-male bias, O’Brien said that she was not gay and never had romantic feelings toward Maddux.

Another witness, Penny Jeannechild, said she taught Maddux in a class and discussed relationship problems with her in 1975 and 1976.

Jeannechild, a former Inquirer employee who is the domestic partner of Inquirer television columnist Gail Shister, was closely questioned about being unmarried when she counseled Maddux.

“Well, what were you?” Cannon asked.

As Jeannechild hesitated, Common Pleas Court Judge William J. Mazzola cut in and asked the witness if she had a “significant other” in her life when she knew Maddux.

“Yes,” Jeannechild answered.

Jeannechild said later: “If homophobic misogyny is the best defense they have, their case is far weaker than anybody thought.”

I have long thought Ira Einhorn was the human manifestation of the pond scum covering the primordial soup. Amazingly, it turns out Einhorn & Co. come from a far lower level of prehistoric slime.

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