Hammer attack: Trial begins in Patricia Smith murder case

Alex Ewing faces a number of counts of 1st-diploma murder in the killing of Patricia Louise Smith who was overwhelmed to death with a hammer in 1984.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colorado — Alex Christopher Ewing – convicted past yr of the January 1984 hammer murders of three associates of an Aurora spouse and children – went on demo Wednesday for the rape and murder of a woman that exact same thirty day period in Lakewood.

The two scenarios are inextricably connected – transpiring 6 days aside, in homes that backed up to open up place, where victims were bludgeoned with a hammer and sexually assaulted.

In the demo that began Wednesday, Ewing, 62, faces many counts of initial-diploma murder in the slaying of Patricia Louise Smith, an inside decorator who was beaten to death with an automobile-human body hammer in the townhome she shared with her daughter and grandchildren.

A 2018 DNA hit led investigators to Ewing in both equally extended-unsolved killings.

A jury was seated just ahead of 2 p.m.– and prosecutors and protection attorneys laid out competing narratives of the meaning of that DNA, which was extracted from semen found on Smith’s physique, the carpeting beneath it, and a blanket masking her.

Prosecutor Katharine Decker pressured its presence on and all around Smith’s system – and the related acquiring at the Bennett residence, wherever one of the victims, 7-12 months-outdated Melissa Bennett, was sexually assaulted.

“This circumstance will come down to two factors – those two items are semen, and similarities,” Decker mentioned. “That’s since it’s semen and similarities that verify it was the defendant who sexually assaulted and killed Patricia Smith on Jan. 10, 1984.”

Defense lawyer Katherine Spengler, on the other hand, pressured that the latest screening failed to discover Ewing’s DNA on the hammer – or on Smith’s garments and boots, which ended up pulled off her overall body, and her purse and wallet, which investigators imagine the killer rummaged as a result of.

“He did not deal with that hammer,” Spengler reported, as Ewing sat nearby. “He did not tear off her garments prior to that rape, and he did not handle her purse. Alex Ewing is harmless of the murder of Patricia Smith and he is harmless of her sexual assault.”

> Look at the full opening statements listed here:

https://www.youtube.com/observe?v=Js-6wWznG0k

Smith, 50, was astonished at dwelling as she ate a lunchtime hamburger on Jan. 10, 1984 – six days before the murders in Aurora of Melissa Bennet and her dad and mom, Bruce and Debra Bennett. The couple’s more youthful daughter, then-3-yr-aged Vanessa, suffered significant injuries but survived.

Similar: Gentleman found responsible in 1984 hammer assaults is sentenced to life in prison – three occasions

An Arapahoe County jury found Ewing guilty of a few counts of very first-diploma murder in the Bennett killings, and the decide in the circumstance imposed three consecutive existence sentences – this means he will die in jail.

Decker, the prosecutor, stressed the several similarities to the Bennett situation – which Choose Tamara Russell dominated jurors could take into consideration for the minimal function of “identity, widespread prepare or modus operandi.”

The killer is considered to have entered through open garage doorways in both situations. The assailant dumped out and went by means of purses at both crime scenes. Both of those Smith and Melissa Bennett – who was also sexually assaulted – have been left on the ground on their backs, in similar states of undress, with blankets over their heads and their legs spread apart. And whilst the murder weapon was in no way discovered in the Bennett circumstance, all these who died suffered blunt drive accidents reliable with blows from a hammer.

Associated: ‘It’s been a long time waiting’: Connie Bennett sees justice 37 decades immediately after murder of 3 spouse and children customers

The prosecution’s initially witness was Smith’s daughter, Chery Lettin. She told jurors that she’d arrive to Colorado in the midst of a divorce, transferring from Nebraska with her two young small children. Her mother joined them to assist her with her small children as she acquired proven in a new metropolis.

The night of Jan. 10, 1984, she informed the jury, she 1st feared anything was mistaken when her mother was not at a park-and-experience waiting for her when she arrived right after get the job done.

Immediately after contacting a cousin, Lettin explained finding up her young children and heading to the townhome they shared, where the lights have been off. She could see a television in her mother’s bed room flickering.

“I thought that was really strange,” she stated.

She explained to the jury what took place up coming: “Opened the front door, and turned on the light-weight there that was in the entryway, and noticed my mom there laying on the ground probably 6 feet away. … I understood she was dead.”

At the time Ewing was discovered as a suspect in the Bennett and Smith conditions, he was serving a 110-year sentence for a late-evening ax deal with attack on a pair in Henderson that occurred about seven months soon after the Colorado murders.

The DNA hit arrived immediately after Nevada prison officials commenced getting saliva from inmates and incorporating their genetic profiles to the FBI’s nationwide database, identified as CODIS. It was there that it was matched to start with to the Bennett murders and then to Smith’s killing.

Speak to 9News reporter Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any tale: [email protected] or 303-871-1862.

>> Go through updates in the case at BLAME Podcast.

Over 12 days in January 1984, somebody with a hammer unleashed unspeakable violence in two tranquil Denver suburbs — killing four folks, beating two many others so savagely it was stunning they survived and raping quite a few of his victims.

Relevant: Flight attendant who lived by 1984 hammer attack located peace, even with out justice

The story of the assaults, the search for a killer, and the stress and anxiety that gripped the survivors and altered daily life in the Denver metro spot is the matter of a 9Desires to Know investigative podcast.

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