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ANGELA DOLAND Associated Press Writer

CHAMPAGNE-MOUTON, France (AP) – After two decades on the run, convicted murderer Ira Einhorn was finally extradited from France on Friday and placed on a plane to Pennsylvania, where he faces a new trial in the gruesome bludgeoning death of his girlfriend.

The 61-year-old Einhorn was handed over to U.S. authorities at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport shortly before the flight took off for Philadelphia at 1:25 a.m. (7:25 p.m. EDT(.

Linda Vizi, an FBI spokeswoman in Philadelphia, confirmed Thursday night that the plane carrying Einhorn had taken off from Paris, but she had no other details.

“He’s in the air,” Vizi said. “He will be turned over to the Philadelphia police and they will transport him to his new home.”

Earlier Thursday, French police took Einhorn from his home in the southwestern village of Champagne-Mouton and sped him away under heavy guard to Paris.

Einhorn was being flown by private charter to Philadelphia International Airport, said airport spokesman Mark Pesche. He was scheduled to land at about 1 a.m. EDT.

The extradition was an end to two decades of flight for the 61-year-old former anti-war activist and counterculture figure, convicted in absentia of the bludgeoning death of his girlfriend, Holly Maddux, in 1977. He faces a new trial in Pennsylvania.

His trip to Pennsylvania began earlier Thursday when Einhorn was led outside his home, an officer holding each arm, and bundled into an unmarked gray Peugeot. Seated in the back, he waved through the window to his wife, Annika, who leaned on a defense lawyer for support. The convoy then left for the airport.

Reaction was swift from the victim’s family.

“When we see him in handcuffs in the custody of an American citizen, we will be really happy,” said Holly Maddux’s sister Meg Wakeman, a Seattle-based nurse who was in Washington, D.C., for the introduction of a proposed extradition enforcement bill.

The developments came after the European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg, France, dropped its request that France postpone the extradition. The court ruled that Einhorn’s medical condition was satisfactory – he had slit his throat in protest last week – and that U.S. officials had provided assurances he would not face the death penalty.

It took only a few hours for France to decide to go ahead with the extradition.

“He gathered together his belongings,” said lawyer Dominique Delthil, standing outside Einhorn’s converted-windmill home. “I think in some way he expected it. On the other hand, I think he still had hope.”

After the court’s ruling, Einhorn had emerged briefly with his wife, her arm draped around his shoulder. “I’m innocent,” he declared. “I will be happy to go to the U.S. if the court gives me a new trial.”

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