Nevada inmate convicted of attacking a couple with the handle of the ax is related to four murders per hammer in 1984

Christopher Ewing, who was convicted of attacking a couple with an ax in 1984, has now been charged with killing four people with a hammer in suburban Denver that same year, authorities said Friday.

Christopher Ewing, who was convicted of attacking a couple with an ax in 1984, has now been charged with killing four people with a hammer in suburban Denver that same year, authorities said Friday.

Christopher Ewing, who was convicted of attacking a couple with an ax in 1984, has now been charged with killing four people with a hammer in suburban Denver that same year, authorities said Friday.

A Nevada inmate previously convicted of assaulting a couple with an ax handle in his room is now suspected of killing four people with a hammer in two attacks in suburban Denver more than 30 years ago, authorities said Friday.

Colorado police officials said DNA tests have linked Alexander Christopher Ewing to the homicides of Patricia Louise Smith, 50, of Lakewood, and three members of the Bennett family in Aurora in 1984.

A hammer was used to kill Smith, a mother and grandmother who was attacked while having lunch on January 10, 1984. The gun was left in her condo.

About a week later, a different hammer was used to kill Bruce and Debra Bennett, 27 and 26, and their seven-year-old daughter Melissa at their home in Aurora, about 15 miles from Lakewood. The couple's three-year-old daughter, Vanessa, was seriously injured.

Ewing has been behind bars in Nevada since the summer of 1984 after he escaped there while being transported to Kingman, Arizona, from St George, Utah, for an appearance in court for attempted murder and robbery charges.

His sentence runs until 2037, but he could be eligible for parole in 2021.

Ewing allegedly broke into the Bennett family home in January 1984 and murdered (l r) Melissa, Bruce and Debra, leaving her youngest daughter, Vanessa badly wounded

Ewing allegedly broke into the Bennett family home in January 1984 and murdered (l r) Melissa, Bruce and Debra, leaving her youngest daughter, Vanessa badly wounded

Ewing allegedly broke into the Bennett family home in January 1984 and murdered (l r) Melissa, Bruce and Debra, leaving her youngest daughter, Vanessa badly wounded

Ewing has been an inmate at the Penitentiary Center of Northern Nevada for more than 30 years after his conviction for the ax killings along with other charges in 1984.

Ewing has been an inmate at the Penitentiary Center of Northern Nevada for more than 30 years after his conviction for the ax killings along with other charges in 1984.

Ewing has been an inmate at the Penitentiary Center of Northern Nevada for more than 30 years after his conviction for the ax killings along with other charges in 1984.

Colorado prosecutors said on Friday they were preparing documents to extradite Ewing, a process that could take months, and possible charges in Colorado deaths could carry the death penalty.

The Nevada authorities notified Colorado officials of a possible DNA match in early July. The news "made me shiver," said John Camper, director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Camper credited the constant advances in DNA technology over the decades in the search for a coincidence.

The first DNA samples collected from the attack on the Bennett family were loaded into an FBI database in 2001, Camper said. In 2010, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation developed a DNA profile in Smith's murder that coincided with Bennett's case, he said.

In July, according to a new state law that requires DNA samples from inmates, Nevada authorities cleaned the inside of Ewing's cheek and registered the results in the national database, Camper said.

District Attorney George Brauchler, whose office is handling the Bennett family case, credited Nevada's 2013 law with the case being broken. Colorado also requires DNA samples from inmates.

Camper said he hopes the news will allow the relatives of the victims to heal a little more. "

& # 39; It's challenging. It's hard. But we do not forget these cases, "said Lakewood Police Chief Dan McCasky.

Nevada court records show that a jury found that Ewing, under the name of Alex C Ewing, was guilty of escaping the custody of two Arizona agents at a service station in Henderson, Nevada, on August 9, 1984.

He entered an unlocked house and severely beat a woman and her husband with an ax handle in their bedroom, records say.

Two small children slept in other rooms.

Ewing, who was then 23 years old, was arrested two days later by park rangers from Lake Mead.

Vanessa Bennett, now 38, was left with several scars and put a metal plate on her forehead

Vanessa Bennett, now 38, was left with several scars and put a metal plate on her forehead

Vanessa Bennett, now 38, was left with several scars and put a metal plate on her forehead

The killings in Colorado followed two other attacks near Denver that authorities suspected involved a hammer.

On January 4, 1984, a couple in Aurora woke up and saw a man in his room who hit each of them with a hammer before fleeing. Both survived.

Less than a week later, a stewardess was beaten, possibly with a hammer, and sexually assaulted after she entered the garage of her home in Aurora.

Authorities said those investigations are still active, but did not speculate if they were related to the Smith and Bennett murders.

Vanessa Bennett, the only survivor of the Aurora attack, told KUSA-TV on Thursday she remembers little about it.

Now he is 38 years old, has scars, with a metal plate on his forehead. He endured operations, physiotherapy and anger problems during his growth.

"I was made fun of at school because my parents were murdered," he said. "I scoffed because the hammer or whatever you want to call was going to come to my house and hurt everyone when I had pajama parties and stuff."

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