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Alexander Christopher Ewing Charged in 1984 CO Murders of Patricia Smith and Bennett Family
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Thread: Alexander Christopher Ewing Charged in 1984 CO Murders of Patricia Smith and Bennett Family

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    Alexander Christopher Ewing Charged in 1984 CO Murders of Patricia Smith and Bennett Family


    Patricia Smith


    Bruce and Debra Bennett family. Only 3-year-old Vanessa (on right) survived.


    Alexander Christopher Ewing booking mug from 1985 Nevada Department of Corrections


    Recent photo of Alexander Ewing


    Prisoner charged with murder after DNA matches him to brutal 1984 cold case hammer attacks in Aurora and Lakewood

    The horrific crimes have remained unsolved until dogged cold case detectives solved the case with the help of Colorado Bureau of Investigation crime analysts

    By Kirk Mitchell, Noelle Phillips and Elise Schmelzer
    The Denver Post

    A 57-year-old Nevada inmate has been charged with multiple counts of murder in an infamous series of brutal attacks a few days apart in 1984 involving the home-invasion murders of three members of an Aurora family and the bludgeoning of a Lakewood grandmother, according to officials during a press conference Friday morning.

    Alexander Christopher Ewing, 57, of Sacramento, Calif., is serving a 40-year prison term for two counts each of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon in Nevada. Officials say the extradition process for Ewing has begun.

    “We’ve never forgotten this case. We’ve never forgotten these families,” said Lakewood police chief Daniel McCasky. “Hopefully, this begins a sense of healing, a sense of peace and sense of justice.”

    “Today represents the first public and formal step in what will prove to be a long journey toward justice in this case,” Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler said.

    Friday’s announcements came following a grueling 34-year process of dogged police work and legal actions.
    “This case haunted the officers who responded that night,” Aurora police Chief Nick Metz said. “It was a case that haunted the families and the victims to the core.”

    In 2002, former District Attorney Jim Peters obtained a John Doe arrest warrant in the murders of Bruce and Debra Bennett and their 7-year–old daughter Melissa, based on DNA. Peters charged John Doe with 18 counts including murder. In 2010, a Lakewood cold case detective submitted DNA in the Patricia Louise Smith homicide case in hopes of comparing it to DNA collected in the Bennett murders. Colorado Bureau of Corrections forensic scientists found a link.

    A few weeks ago, Nevada uploaded Ewing’s DNA to the FBI’s national data base, Colorado Bureau of Investigation Director John Camper said. CBI had a match between him and the Lakewood and Aurora cases the next day and Camper immediately notified Aurora police Chief Nick Metz. “It sent a chill through my spine,” Metz said.

    LAKEWOOD CASE

    On Jan. 10, 1984, a man entered Smith’s Green Mountain townhouse in Lakewood and bludgeoned and sexually assaulted her.

    Ewing faces charges of first-degree murder after deliberation, three counts of felony murder and two violent crime counts in Jefferson County in connection with Smith’s death, according to authorities currently in a press conference.

    A Jefferson County district judge issued a warrant for Ewing’s arrest Thursday. Jefferson County District Attorney Pete Weir said formal charges will be filed early next week.

    AURORA CASE

    Six days after Smith’s murder, a man armed with a hammer and knife entered an Aurora home and attacked a family. Bruce and Debra Bennett were celebrating the 7th birthday of their daughter Melissa.

    The killer had bludgeoned Bruce Bennett and slit his neck on the stairs of their home. The man raped Debra in the master bed room and beat her to death with a hammer. He raped and bludgeoned Melissa in the room she shared with 3-year-old Vanessa and then beat the younger girl in the head and face.

    Bruce Bennett’s mother, Connie Bennett, came over the next day and found only Vanessa alive, Brauchler said.

    Metz met with family and victims a few days after the DNA match was made alleging a connection between Ewing and the crime.

    “There’s been no closure,” he said.

    The horrific crimes remained unsolved until Aurora cold case Det. Steve Conner got a break in the case with the help of CBI crime analysts.

    “Make no mistake, DNA is what brings us here today,” Brauchler said.

    Ewing has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder after deliberation, three counts of felony murder, attempted murder after deliberation, two counts of sexual assault using physical force, first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, sexual assault of a child and first degree burglary with a weapon, according to Arapahoe County court documents.

    A few days before both crimes, on Jan. 4, 1984, a man snuck into an Aurora home and used a hammer to beat James and Kimberly Haubenschild. James Haubenschild suffered a fractured skull, and his wife had a concussion. Both survived. On the same day, a man using a hammer attacked flight attendant Donna Dixon in the garage of her Aurora home, leaving her in a coma. Dixon survived.

    Ewing is also charged with sentence enhancers including three counts of committing a violent crime causing death, committing a violent crime causing serious bodily injury and two counts of using a weapon to cause a violent crime, according the Arapahoe County DA.

    “We hope they will feel a sense of justice and be able to heal just a little more,” Metz said.

    ARIZONA CASE

    Several months after the Aurora murders and rapes, Ewing entered a home in Kingman, Ariz. through an open door. He then battered a man nearly to death with a boulder that weighed about 20 pounds, according to a Henderson police report.

    Kingman police arrested Ewing on charges of attempted murder and transferred him out of state to another jail while he was awaiting trial. On Aug. 9, 1984, Ewing was in a Mojave County, Ariz., jail van riding through Henderson, Nev., with about 11 inmates heading to Kingman for a hearing when the van stopped at a Texaco gas station, the police report says.

    Inmates were unchained for a restroom break. Wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, Ewing ran into a K-Mart and changed into red shorts with white trim, according to a Henderson police report from 1984.

    That night, armed with an ax handle, Ewing entered an open back door of a home at 739 Racetrack Road. Christopher Barry, then 34, and his wife Nancy, then 24, were asleep. Nancy got out of bed and went downstairs to prepare a bottle for their baby, who was crying. When she saw Ewing she ran to her bedroom screaming. As Christopher Barry awoke, Ewing began beating him with the ax handle, the Henderson police report says.

    Christopher Barry was knocked unconscious and would remain in a coma for a week with severe head injuries, according to a 1984 Las Vegas Journal-Review article. Nancy Barry tried to block the blows to her husband.

    In the process both her wrists and her arm were broken, the article said.

    Nancy Barry managed to call 911 while Ewing continued hitting her and her husband. The dispatcher could hear thumps in the background during the call. Nancy Barry climbed under her bed to escape. But Ewing kept beating her in the head until she acted like she was dead, the Henderson police report says.

    A massive helicopter and foot search ensued for Ewing, who fled on foot toward Lake Mead. Two days after he attacked the Barry family, National Park Service rangers spotted Ewing making a phone call. When he saw them, Ewing took off running. A ranger caught up with Ewing and arrested him, the Henderson police report says.

    An 8th District Court jury in Las Vegas convicted Ewing in 1985, the Review-Journal reported at the time.

    Brauchler said the potential exists that Ewing could face the death penalty in the Bennett case, but he hasn’t made a decision. Weir said Ewing could also face the death penalty in Smith’s murder. An extensive evaluation, including talking to the victim’s family, is needed first, Weir said.

    Brauchler and Weir will file paperwork Friday asking Gov. John Hickenlooper to order extradition of Ewing from Nevada. Extradition could take anywhere from a couple of weeks to two months, depending on cooperation between Colorado and Nevada governors and Ewing’s legal actions.

    “Justice in this case has been delayed. But I’m confident that justice in this case will not be denied,” Weir said.

    The Smith family plans to release a statement on Friday about the arrest.

    https://www.denverpost.com/2018/08/1...-case-murders/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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    Excerpt from Review Journal Article:

    An undated post on meet-an-inmate.com contains a picture of Ewing in prison blues and describes him as an adventurous outdoor type who enjoys camping, traveling, exercising, animals, old movies, old cars.

    He turns 58 next week. The site said that his earliest release date is 2021, when he is eligible for parole in Nevada, while his maximum release date is listed as 2023.

    Im looking to meet a woman in her 50s for the purpose of becoming a pen-pal friend, Ewing wrote on the site. Ill like a person for themselves; looks, race, creed or color does not matter. Im not looking for someone to support me. Not to sound pathetic but after doing as much time as I have, a letter (especially from a woman) would mean a lot to me and something to look forward to. Ive been no saint in my life but I want to do better and I realize Im still alive by the grace of God.

    https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/...rado-killings/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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    Lawyer tells Nevada court man sought in Denver-area hammer killings deserved attorney

    By Associated Press

    LAS VEGAS A lawyer is arguing that a Nevada prison inmate facing death penalty charges in four Denver-area killings in 1984 should have been given a lawyer to help him fight extradition.

    Nevada Supreme Court documents filed this week say a judge rejected Alexander Christopher Ewing's request last October for an appointed attorney and ordered Ewing transferred in custody to Colorado.

    Ewings extradition has been delayed pending his appeal.

    Attorney Martin Wiener of Reno represents Ewing. He declined Wednesday to comment.

    Ewing is 58. Hes been in prison in Nevada since 1984 for attacking a Las Vegas-area couple after escaping while being transported to Arizona on an attempted murder charge.

    Colorado authorities say DNA links him to the slayings of Patricia Louise Smith in Lakewood and three members of a family in Aurora.

    https://kdvr.com/2019/06/05/lawyer-t...rved-attorney/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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    Nevada Supreme Court Denies Christopher Ewings Appeal Challenging Extradition To Colorado For 1984 Murders

    The man accused in a string of deadly hammer attacks in Lakewood and Aurora in 1984 could return to Colorado. Alexander Christopher Ewing is facing death penalty charges for the 4 murders.

    The Nevada Supreme Court denied Ewings appeal challenging extradition to Colorado to face murder charges in the 1984 deaths of Patricia Louise Smith in Lakewood and Bruce and Debra Bennett and their 7-year-old daughter Melissa, in Aurora.

    Ewing, 58, has been in prison in Nevada since 1984 for attacking a Las Vegas-area couple after escaping while being transported to Arizona on an attempted murder charge.

    Just last year, police in Colorado announced that modern DNA science had linked Ewing to 4 deadly hammer attacks in Colorado in 1984.

    DNA Evidence Leads To Nevada Inmate In 1984 Hammer Attacks

    Patricia Louise Smith was beaten to death with a hammer in her home in Lakewood.

    3 of the 4 members of the Bennett family were murdered with a claw hammer in Aurora. Only 3-year-old Vanessa survived.

    Barring Ewings attempt to appeal this ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, Ewing will be brought to Colorado as soon as possible. If Ewing is extradited, he will be tried in Jefferson and Arapahoe counties.

    (source: CBS News)
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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    Judge: Aurora case against suspect in 1984 hammer killings will move to trial

    By Eric Ruble
    KDVR News

    AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) The case against a man accused of killing three people in Aurora in 1984 will move to trial, a judge ruled Tuesday.

    According to the 18th Judicial District, Judge Michelle Amico ruled there is enough evidence to proceed to trial on the murder counts against Alexander Christopher Ewing.

    Ewing is suspected of killing an Aurora couple and their 7-year-old child in 1984. Investigators say he beat Bruce, Debra and Melissa Bennett to death with a hammer.

    A 3-year-old girl survived the attack but was left with serious injuries.

    Six days earlier, Ewing allegedly broke into a Lakewood home and killed 50-year-old Patricia Smith by beating her with a different hammer.

    The Lakewood murder case is separate from those in Aurora.

    According to the Associated Press, Ewing had been in prison in Nevada since 1984 for attacking a Las Vegas-area couple after escaping while being transported to Arizona on an attempted murder charge.

    In August 2018, Ewing's DNA was linked to the four metro Denver killings.

    Ewing is being held without bond. His next date in court for the Aurora charges is scheduled for Aug. 27.

    https://kdvr.com/news/local/judge-au...move-to-trial/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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