JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Alex Ewing, the man convicted and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for murdering a family with a hammer inside their Aurora home in 1984, was found guilty of another murder on Thursday.
A mistrial was originally declared in October in the murder of 50-year-old Patricia Smith who was attacked and beaten to death inside of her Lakewood home in 1984. The judge granted the defense’s motion for a competency evaluation.
The trial resumed at the end of last month and the guilty verdict was announced Thursday morning. He was convicted on seven counts including first-degree murder and violent crime causing death.
Ewing convicted of killing Bennett family
A 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.
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.
Vanessa (Bennett) Shulz flew from Arizona where she lives to attend and speak at Ewing’s sentencing in August 2021, 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.”
Police said a hammer was used to kill Patricia Louise Smith, 50, in Lakewood in January 1984, then another hammer was used to kill 27-year-old Bruce Bennett, 26-year-old Debra Bennett and their 7-year-old daughter Melissa a few days later in Aurora.
In August 2017, investigators released a composite image of the suspect in the Bennett family homicides that was created using DNA phenotyping.
The “hammer killings” terrorized the entire Denver area at the time after five people were killed in a 12-day period.
Ewing’s violent history
Ewing is also suspected in the beating death of a 28-year-old Aurora woman and the beating of another couple who survived 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.
He was extradited to Colorado in February of 2020 and was being held at the Arapahoe County Jail while the trial of the Bennett family murders took place.
The First Judicial District Attorney’s Office sent FOX31 the following statement after the verdict was announced:
“We truly appreciate the jury’s service in this difficult case, and our thoughts are with the family of Patricia Smith as they finally see justice for her horrific murder over three decades ago. Today’s verdict is the result of significant efforts and dedication by law enforcement, scientists, the witnesses who testified, and our staff, without whom this outcome would not have been possible.”