Alex Christoper Ewing now stands accused of being a notorious killer who murdered a family with a hammer in Aurora, Colorado in the 1980s and then slew a grandmother.
Authorities used DNA to crack the case. The hammer murders were among a series of violent incidents that included the death of a grandmother and the attack on a Nevada couple, in that case with an ax handle. The suspect’s full name is Alexander Christopher Ewing, and authorities said in a news conference that they cracked the cases of the four Colorado cold case murders by uploading the crime scene DNA into a national DNA database.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Alex Ewing Is Accused of Using a Hammer To Kill Three Members of a Family
The terrifying murders occurred over a few day period in the 1980s when Ewing is accused of using a hammer to bludgeon a family to death, including a young child.
The Denver Post was among the news outlets that identified Alex Christopher Ewing as the suspect now accused in the attacks, which unfolded in 1984, an accusation that authorities repeated in a news conference.
The killer murdered two parents – Bruce and Debra Bennett – and their 7-year-old, Melissa, and left their other child severely injured. The other victim murdered in the terrifying crime spree was Patricia Louise Smith, 50, a grandmother. Smith died in Lakewood, and the Bennett family was murdered in Aurora.
Authorities had previously linked the DNA in the Bennett family murders to the death of Smith. Her family released a lengthy statement after news of the arrest, saying she was a “beacon of light for our family.”
Vanessa Bennett, the sole survivor of the massacre of her family is now 38. She spoke to 9News but said she doesn’t remember much from that time frame. She was only 3 when the attack occurred.
The child was in a coma with her jaw wired shut for a time. According to 9News, the killer slashed Bruce Bennett’s throat and the mother and Melissa were found in bedrooms. Vanessa told the television station that she has struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues since the hammer attack.
A sketch previously created from the suspect’s DNA bears a strong resemblance to Alexander Ewing.
2. Ewing Is Already in Prison for Other Violent Crimes
The man authorities now say was the killer was already in prison serving a prison sentence for violent crimes.
He is already incarcerated for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Alex Christopher Ewing was serving time in a Nevada prison, police said.
Ewing, 57, was serving a 40-year prison sentence for those crimes, according to The Denver Post. Authorities said in a press conference on August 10, 2018 that they will seek to extradite Ewing from Nevada to Colorado.
The hit came when DNA samples from the Colorado crime scenes were uploaded into the FBI’s CODIS database, authorities revealed. Ewing reportedly claimed there was a mistake when told that his DNA had matched the crime scene.
3. Police Said They’d Never Forgotten the Colorado Victims’ Families
Despite the longevity of the cases, police said they’d never given up on solving them. “We’ve never forgotten this case. We’ve never forgotten these families,” said Lakewood police chief Daniel McCasky to The Denver Post. “Hopefully, this begins a sense of healing, a sense of peace and sense of justice.”
4. Ewing Is Accused of Beating Another Couple With an Ax Handle
The violence continued with the ax handling bludgeoning of a Nevada couple, although they survived. That attack occurred in 1985 in Henderson, Nevada.
Alexander Ewing has been held at Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, Nevada for that attack. That attack, for which he was serving the lengthy prison sentence, came after Ewing escaped from a van transporting inmates; he was incarcerated already for beating another man over the head with a rock, according to The Review Journal.
5. Ewing Described Himself as an ‘Adventurous Outdoor Type’ on an Inmate Dating Site
According to The Las Vegas Review Journal, Alex Christopher Ewing appears on an inmate dating site in which he describes himself as the “adventurous outdoor type” who enjoys “camping, traveling, exercising, animals, old movies, old cars.”
He further wrote, according to the newspaper: “I’m looking to meet a woman in her 50’s for the purpose of becoming a pen-pal friend. I’ll like a person for themselves; looks, race, creed or color does not matter. I’m 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. I’ve been no saint in my life but I want to do better and I realize I’m still alive by the grace of God.”