Nevada inmate linked to 1984 hammer killings near Denver
AURORA, Colorado – A Nevada inmate prior to now convicted of attacking a pair with an ax care for of their bed room is now accused of killing 4 folks with a hammer in two assaults in suburban Denver greater than 30 years in the past, government mentioned Friday.
Police officers mentioned DNA proof has tied Alexander Christopher Ewing to the slayings of Patricia Louise Smith, 50, in Lakewood, and 3 contributors a circle of relatives in Aurora in 1984.
A hammer was once used to kill Smith, a mom and grandmother who was once attacked whilst consuming lunch on Jan. 10, 1984. The weapon was once left in her condominium.
A couple of week later, a hammer was once used to kill Bruce and Debra Bennett, 27 and 26, and their 7-year-old daughter Melissa at their house in Aurora, about 15 miles from Lakewood. The couple’s Three-year-old daughter, Vanessa, was once significantly injured.
Ewing has been at the back of bars in Nevada because the summer time of 1984 for the same assault dedicated after he escaped whilst being transported to Kingman, Arizona, the place he was once accused of attacking a slumbering guy with a 25-pound piece of granite.
Colorado officers say Ewing has a legal historical past courting again to 1979 with different arrests in Florida and California.
Colorado prosecutors mentioned Friday they have been making ready papers to extradite Ewing — a procedure that would take months — and that the demise penalty was once an opportunity.
Prosecutors filed fees towards a John Doe suspect in 2002 within the Bennett slayings, based totally a DNA profile advanced from proof that was once many times examined as generation complex.
The submitting has been up to date to incorporate Ewing because the suspect. Fees also are anticipated to be filed within the Smith case, which is in some other jurisdiction, District Legal professional Pete Weir mentioned.
Colorado officers discovered of a conceivable DNA fit in early July right through a regimen seek of databases. The news “despatched a sit back thru my backbone,” mentioned John Camper, director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
The primary DNA samples accumulated from the assault at the Bennett circle of relatives have been uploaded to an FBI database in 2001, Camper mentioned. In 2010, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation advanced a DNA profile within the Smith killing that matched the Bennett case, he mentioned.
In July, below a 2013 state legislation that permits DNA sampling of inmates, Nevada government swabbed the interior of Ewing’s cheek and entered the leads to the nationwide database.
District Legal professional George Brauchler, whose workplace is dealing with the Bennett circle of relatives case, credited Nevada Legal professional Basic Adam Laxalt for pushing for retroactive trying out of inmates below that legislation for serving to establish Ewing as a suspect. Colorado additionally calls for DNA sampling of inmates.
Nevada courtroom information display a jury discovered Ewing, below the title Alex C. Ewing, was once to blame of escaping from the custody of 2 Arizona deputies at a fuel station in Henderson, Nevada, on Aug. nine, 1984. He entered an unlocked house and significantly beat a girl and her husband with an ax care for of their bed room, the information say.
Ewing, then 23, was once arrested two days later through park rangers at Lake Mead.
The Colorado killings adopted two different non-fatal assaults close to Denver that government suspected concerned a hammer. Government mentioned the ones investigations stay energetic however declined to invest in the event that they have been associated with the Smith and Bennett slayings.
After the DNA fit, Ewing advised Colorado investigators in two interviews that he lived within the Denver house in 1984 and did more than a few building jobs, together with plumbing, in line with courtroom paperwork.
When Ewing was once proven a photograph of Smith from the homicide scene, he “jumped again in his chair” and stared at it, the paperwork state.
“Alex Ewing seemed surprised and when faced about his DNA being discovered on the scene of the homicide, he mentioned, ‘There may be were given to be a mistake,’ and equipped no clarification of the way his DNA will have been on the scene,” Detective Clayton Fuller wrote in an arrest affidavit within the case.
In a remark, the Smith circle of relatives mentioned they have been relieved that the suspect has been at the back of bars for as a rule since Patricia Smith was once killed.
“It’s tricky to believe how a lot more gratifying our lives would had been if Patricia Smith’s lifestyles had no longer been taken from us. It is tougher to believe her demise last a thriller,” the circle of relatives mentioned.
Vanessa Burnett, the only survivor of the Aurora assault, advised KUSA-TV on Thursday that she recollects little about it. Now 38, she’s scarred, with a steel plate in her brow. She persisted operations, bodily remedy and anger problems rising up.
“I used to be made amusing of in class as a result of my oldsters have been killed,” she mentioned. “I used to be made amusing of for the reason that hammer guy or no matter you need to name it was once going to come back to my space and harm everyone once I had shut eye events and stuff.”
AP author Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this document.