May 23, 2024

politics of law

Politics and Law

Retrial begins in second “Hammer Killer” case based on DNA link to 1984 slaying | Colorado News

3 min read

The retrial of Alex Ewing in a practically 40-year-previous Lakewood murder situation got underway Wednesday with a common opening statement from the prosecution and requests by the defense for a second mistrial and, after that unsuccessful, a transform of venue.

District Choose Tamara Russell rejected that, way too, right after testimony began in the 2nd Jefferson County trial of Ewing, who is accused of the murder and sexual assault of Patricia Smith on Jan. 10, 1984, during a string of brutal attacks in excess of a 12-working day span by the so-known as “Hammer Killer.”

An Arapahoe County jury past summer season convicted Ewing of murdering a few associates of an Aurora household for the duration of people assaults, and his October demo on prices he killed Smith ended in a mistrial when his lawyers asked for their client’s psychological competency be evaluated. That psychological health and fitness delay was settled late past calendar year, in accordance to court information.

For the second demo, Chief Deputy District Attorney Katharine Decker caught to a equivalent argument, emphasizing the importance of “semen and similarities” in her opening assertion Wednesday. She targeted on the DNA proof connecting Ewing to semen discovered on Smith’s human body and in her living home.

The DNA was matched to Ewing while he was serving a 40-year sentence in Nevada for attempted murder soon after beating a couple with an ax cope with in August 1984.

“After almost 40 decades, they have a match,” Decker instructed the jury.

Decker also used sizeable portions of her opening statement reviewing the murders of Melissa, Debra and Bruce Bennett in Aurora on Jan. 16, 1984, for which Ewing was sentenced to three existence phrases, drawing similarities involving the Bennett and Smith cases.

Both equally assaults took spot at households exactly where garage doorways experienced been still left open up and both equally Melissa Bennett and Smith had been killed with hammer blows to the head, then sexually assaulted.

The defense argued that whilst the semen DNA may perhaps have been matched to Ewing, the so-named contact DNA from “critical items” in the case excluded Ewing as a suspect. The DNA uncovered on the take care of of the hammer that killed Smith, as properly as the evidence on her clothes, did not match Ewing, community defender Katherine Powers Spengler reported.

She contended that the prosecution was ignoring this evidence to achieve “a speedy, straightforward fix.”

“The prosecution desires you to assume this is a uncomplicated circumstance,” Spengler stated, arguing that the point out was asking jurors to overlook physical proof that she said dominated Ewing out.

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Spengler concluded the opening statement by calling on the jury to not have a “cemented thoughts of a brief fix” like the prosecution.

“There is no issue that this case signifies the tragic decline of Patricia Smith,” Spengler claimed, arguing that the perpetrator have to be held responsible — dependent on the DNA on the deal with of the hammer.

“And that DNA, that is not Alex Ewing’s DNA,” she explained.

The prosecutor, while, observed that the deficiency of Ewing’s DNA on the hammer doesn’t suggest he did not use it: He could have been carrying gloves.

Prior to the opening statements, Ewing’s defense questioned for a mistrial because of to statements produced by dismissed potential jurors, which the protection explained could have established bias among the panel. The decide denied the motion for mistrial and continued with jury selection

The protection later filed a movement requesting a transform of venue, arguing Ewing would not be in a position to get a truthful trial in Jefferson County — but the judge denied that, way too.

The to start with witness to testify for the point out was Chery Lettin, who in depth the practical experience of finding her mother on the working day she was killed in their household.

Ewing’s demo is anticipated to final two to a few months.

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