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Alleged 'Hammer Killer' Who Murdered Family In 1984 Claims System Is 'Rigged' During Trial For Separate Slaying

Alex Ewing, who was convicted in August of brutally murdering the Bennett family in 1984, is also standing trial for the murder of Patricia Smith.

By Jax Miller
Convicted Killer Bemoans 'Rigged System' At Trial

A convicted killer who's standing trial in Colorado for the rape and murder of a woman in 1984 railed against a "rigged" system during a bizarre courtroom outburst Tuesday.

Alex Christopher Ewing, 61, is accused of raping and beating Patricia Smith, 50, to death with a hammer in January 1984, according to NBC affiliate KUSA. The Lakewood, Colorado, murder happened less than a week before the horrific sexual assaults and slaughter of the Bennett family in Aurora, for which Ewing was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in August.

Ewing addressed the Jefferson County court to express his belief that the system was “rigged” and that law enforcement dismissed his attempts to lead them to “the people who actually committed the crimes,” according to KUSA.

District Judge Tamara Russell was advising Ewing of his rights regarding testifying when Ewing began airing his grievances, including his 2020 extradition to Colorado from Nevada. Ewing was already serving a 110-year prison term for a 1984 ax-handle murder attempt on a Henderson, Nevada, couple before being connected to the Bennett and Smith murders.

Alex Ewing the Hammer Killer

“Your Honor, I got a lot of issues right now,” Ewing said Tuesday. “I would like to say to the court about this, but I’ve been treated so unfairly even before I was dragged to this state. …the unfairness when I’ve given information out that could possibly lead to an alternate suspect, I’m told, basically, to be quiet. Prosecutors here and in Arapahoe are just going to twist it around.”

Ewing added, “You guys don’t want the people who actually committed the crimes; you just want the conviction.”

According to KUSA, Ewing is not expected to face charges in several other attacks he's suspected of committing in Colorado, including one on Jan. 4, 1984, when someone broke into a home and beat a sleeping couple with a hammer. In that case, the couple sustained head injuries but survived.

On Jan. 9, 1984, a man raped and viciously beat a flight attendant in her garage, leaving her for dead.

The following day, Patricia Smith – the victim Ewing currently stands accused of murdering – was raped and beaten to death with a hammer in the condo she shared with her daughter and grandchildren.

Patricia Louise Smith

Six days later, Ewing horrifically murdered the Bennett family, according to the Sentinel Colorado. In August, an Arapahoe County jury found Ewing guilty of killing Bruce Bennett, 27, Debra Bennett, 26, and their daughter, Melissa Bennett, 7, with a claw hammer. According to the Sentinel, Ewing also raped the child.

Bruce Bennett's throat was also cut, according to the New York Times. The Bennets' 3-year-old daughter was also sexually assaulted and sustained severe blunt force trauma but survived the attack. She was left with life-changing injuries that stayed with her over the decades.

During sentencing for the Bennett murders, Arapahoe County District Court Judge Darren Vahle addressed Ewing’s level of violence, according to the Sentinel.

“Over a 12-day span, you inflicted an unspeakable orgy of violence,” said Vahle. “Your actions – and by imputation you in 1984 – are an abomination.”

Long before authorities connected Ewing to the Colorado murders, he was arrested in Kingman, Arizona, in late January 1984 for breaking into a man’s home and beating him with a slab of granite. Due to overcrowding in the jail, he was held at a Utah detention center.

In August of that year, while being transported from Utah back to Arizona, he escaped his handlers in Henderson, Nevada, as jail deputies stopped for a bathroom break, according to KUSA. He broke into a home that same evening and nearly beat a couple to death with an ax handle.

He was arrested two days later and remained in Nevada for more than three decades to serve his 110-year sentence in that case.

In 2013, the state of Nevada mandated that all felons submit DNA samples, according to the New York Times. Three years later, the state attorney general applied the rule retroactively to current prisoners, regardless of when they were convicted.

In 2018, it was announced that Ewing’s DNA matched with DNA collected from the Smith and Bennett crime scenes.

Ewing fought extradition to Colorado for two years before the Nevada Supreme Court ruled he had to return to face murder charges for the deaths of Smith and the Bennett family, according to the Denver Post.

Ewing is standing trial for the second time in the case of Patricia Smith, which began last week, according to the Denver Post. In October, a judge declared a mistrial after the defense filed a motion for a competency hearing.

Ewing was found competent to stand trial in November. But it doesn't appear he'll testify in his own defense.

“I already said I’m not going to testify,” Ewing continued on Tuesday. “I just don’t like the idea that if I do say something,” that attorneys will “twist it around,” as per KUSA.

“Nothing has been fair, absolutely, since I got off the plane,” he said, adding that the prosecution “rigged the whole thing.”

Closing arguments are set to take place on Wednesday, according to KUSA.