By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Trying time for the unicorn
Now broke and displaying little of the arrogance that had long been his trademark, longtime fugitive Ira Einhorn, 61, convicted in absentia of the 1977 murder of his Tyler-born girlfriend Holly Maddux, is going back to trial in Philadelphia ("A Killer Abroad," December 14, 2000).
After she'd been missing for 18 months, the mummified body of the 30-year-old Maddux was found in a trunk in the apartment she had once shared with Einhorn.
The one-time hippie guru and organizer of Earth Day who called himself "the Unicorn" had jumped bail before his first scheduled trial in 1981 and hid out in Europe. He was finally located in France with his Swedish-born wife in 1997. While on the run, Einhorn was found guilty of the crime and sentenced to life in prison. Following a three-year negotiation, the elusive Einhorn was returned to the United States last July. French authorities agreed to extradite him only after receiving written assurance that American prosecutors would afford him a new trial if he requested it and not ask for the death penalty.
Once back in U.S. custody, Einhorn appeared in court to file papers seeking a new trial.
When the proceedings begin, the siblings of Holly Maddux will be on hand. "This," says sister Buffy Hall of Everman, "will be the big psychological finale we've all been waiting for. Ira Einhorn is finally coming to the end of his road, and that's what we're all looking forward to."
No date for the trial has been set.
While at Texas Tech, he won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's premier collegiate running back. Then, as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was the leading rusher in Super Bowl XXX. That was before the fairy tale life of Cooper, Texas' Byron (Bam) Morris cratered ("Fallen Star," September 7, 2000).
It was in the summer of 1996 when he was stopped here on a drive from Cooper to Dallas with 6 pounds of marijuana in a gym bag in the trunk of his car. Morris pleaded guilty in exchange for six years' probation. When he repeatedly missed meetings with his probation officer, he was rearrested and ordered to spend 120 days in jail, and his probated sentence was extended to 10 years.
Things would only get worse. First traded to Baltimore, then Kansas City, Morris next found himself indicted on federal drug-trafficking charges. He admitted to attempting to distribute more than 220 pounds of marijuana in the Kansas City area between January 1, 1998, and May 10, 2000. Sentenced to 30 months, he went off to the federal pen.
He'd been there for 18 months when Rockwall's District Judge Brett Hall issued a warrant to have Morris returned to Texas to be sentenced again for violating his probation. This time, he was ordered to immediately begin serving a 10-year state sentence.
Just days before Christmas in 1999, true crime author Barbara Davis, 50, was awakened to a nightmare that continues today. Seventeen North Richland Hills police officers burst into her home and allegedly found Davis' 25-year-old son Troy pointing a 9mm pistol as they entered. He was shot and killed by tactical team member Allen Hill ("Fallen Angel," April 27, 2000).
During a later search, police said they found three marijuana plants and enough GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate, known as a date-rape drug) for 600 doses. Davis, whose books include Precious Angels, a recount of the high-profile Darlie Routier case, was charged with possession of a controlled substance, attempted manufacture of a controlled substance and misdemeanor marijuana possession.
In December, Davis pleaded guilty to the possession of a controlled substance. The other charges were dropped. The charge is a second-degree felony that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Judge C.C. Cooke indicated he would sentence Davis in 30 to 60 days.
"I thought it [the GHB] was legal," Davis says. "I bought it through a pharmaceutical company because I have insomnia."
Davis has a federal lawsuit pending against the North Richland Hills Police, claiming excessive force was used during the raid on her home and that her late son's civil rights were violated.
When Faryion Wardrip, the convicted killer of five young women in Wichita Falls in 1984, chose to plead guilty to his crimes as his trial began in late 1999, the job of prosecuting attorneys became considerably easier ("Burden of Proof," July 13, 2000). All that was left to do was provide a change-of-venue jury in Denton with sentencing evidence. In short order, the killer of Terry Sims, Toni Gibbs, Ellen Blau, Debra Taylor and Tina Kimbrew was sentenced to die by lethal injection.
"The burden of what I did has been lifted," the former Sunday school teacher said at the time. "I've told God to take me. I'm ready." He would not, he said, appeal his death sentence beyond the routine review by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Then, on the December 20, 2001, anniversary of his stabbing and rape of Sims, Wardrip initiated a federal appeals process that he now hopes will help him avoid his scheduled trip to the death chamber.
The most outspoken critic of his decision is Bryce Wardrip, who recently told the Wichita Falls Record-News that it is time his brother "quit wasting taxpayers' money...He needs to just let it go and quit hurting these people. Case closed. Take him down to Huntsville, put a needle in his arm and execute him."