ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — An Arapahoe County judge sentenced Alex Ewing to three consecutive life sentences for the murder of the Bennett family with a hammer inside their Aurora home in 1984.
“If we had the death penalty, it would be right and just and fair for what you did. We do not have the death penalty,” Judge Darren Vahle said during the sentencing.
Melissa Bennett, 7, was violently raped and killed. Her parents, Bruce and Deborah Bennett, were also killed. The 3-year-old sister, Vanessa, was the only survivor.
“This murderer has done the most damage to Vanessa,” Connie Bennett, Vanessa’s grandmother said. “When she started first grade, the teacher asked what happened to her because she had scars on her face. She replied ‘someone came and killed my mom and dad and tried to murder me.’ She was right.”
Vanessa (Bennett) Shulz flew from Arizona where she lives to attend and speak at the sentencing, sharing the living nightmare she’s endured over the last four decades.
“I didn’t just lose my parents and sister, I lost trust in people, I lost my dignity and my pride,” Shulz said. “I lost the person I was supposed to be, I lost my sanity.”
The court convicted Ewing of three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of felony murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree theft, theft, and sexual assault on Aug. 9.
“It’s been four decades. You have all been waiting for closure and closure is such a stupid word, it’s not going to close anything for you, but I know you have been waiting for a long time for this day and I’m sorry for this wait,” Vahle said.
While this family can never fully find closure, or ever move on, the fate of their loved ones’ killer is comforting them.
“It’s wonderful, it is a big relief after all these years, we’re just really happy,” Bennett said.
“I just hope this helps other families, everybody who was affected by this man,” Shulz said.
Ewing is also suspected in the beating death of a 28-year-old woman in Aurora, a 50-year-old woman in Lakewood and the beating of another couple in Aurora who survived.
He’s set to stand trial for the Lakewood murder in October.