DNA Links Convict to 1984 Colorado Hammer Murders

alex christopher ewingTomorrow in Aurora, Colorado, prosecutors and law enforcement will claim victory in another decades old unsolved cold case, in what continues to be a historic year of notorious cold cases getting solved and there are no signs of it slowing down. It’s still unclear if the Aurora Police Department and Arapahoe County District Attorney are going to charge or just name a inmate serving an 8 to 40 year prison sentence as the prime suspect in a brutal quadruple homicides known as the Colorado Hammer Murders. Regardless, it’s another victory in what has been a historic year for law enforcement closing decades old notorious cold cases. Prosecutors have a little less than three years to charge their suspect allegedly linked by DNA evidence.

Alex Christoper Ewing, 57, is serving an an 8 to 40 year prison sentence at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, Nevada. He is serving an enhanced prison sentence due to use of a deadly weapon during a burglary. Ewing is suspected by Aurora Police Department investigators for the brutal hammer-wielding rampage that terrorized residents over a twelve day period in Aurora, Colorado.

It all started on January 4, 1984, in Aurora, Colorado, when an intruder broke into the home James & Kimberly Haubenschild and savagely beat the couple with a hammer. James had his skull fractured and his wife, Kimberly, got a concussion.

They survived.

Later that evening flight attendant Donna Dixon, 28, had just pulled into the garage of her home when she was blitzed attacked by an unknown assailant wielding a hammer. He savagely beat Donna’s head against the wheel well of her car and then raped her on the concrete floor. She survived with severe head trauma believed to be caused by a sledgehammer.

At the time, police didn’t make a connection. One could have been a burglary gone wrong, the other a stalker obsessed with Donna that she hadn’t noticed.

In 2015, Donna Holm(formerly Dixon) told the Denver Post, “It would be nice to close this chapter in my life, to have people held accountable for what they did.”


Patricia Smith not long before her horrific murder in  January 1984

Then six days later on January 10, 1984, things turned deadly at 12610 W. Bayaud Ave. Apt# 5 in Lakewood, CO. Patricia Louise Smith described by loved ones as , “an outgoing, sophisticated woman, who had recently started her own interior decorating business”. She was watching the home and helping with her grandchildren Amber and Joe, since her daughter Cheryl’s recent divorce. Just after 3:00 p.m. Joe, Amber and their cousin Valerie burst in the door expecting to jump into the arms of their loving grandmother, instead, they burst into a scene of pure horror, that no one- let alone little children should see. Her grandchildren found her posed body on their carefully folded Winnie the Pooh blanket. Her arms were folded across her chest, posed- as if she was in a casket. Her pants were pulled down with her boots still on, humiliating her in death.

A hammer lay beside her.

bennett family

The Bennett family, from left to right Melissa, 7; Bruce, 27; Debra, 26; and Vanessa, 3

Photo courtesy of the Aurora Police Department

Then six days later, the early morning of January 16, 1984, Bruce Bennett covered in blood desperately ran up the stairs of his home at 16387 E. Center Drive in Aurora, Colorado to protect his wife and two daughters from an intruder. Little did he know, his wife Debra and two daughters were in the sights of the same man who savagely beat the Haubenschilds, raped and beat Donna Dixon and killed Patricia Louise Smith over the last twelve days.

According to Arapahoe County Deputy District Attorney Ann Tomsic, “It was quite clear he fought with the intruder. It’s apparent he had struggled with his attacker in more than one location and on more than one floor of the house.”

Bruce, just 27, would lose that battle. The sadistic killer savagely beat and sexually assaulted his twenty-six year-old wife Debra and his daughter Melissa, just seven years-old. The same killer would then go into the bedroom of his three year-old daughter Vanessa, bash her face in as she was laying in a crib. Her jaw was crushed, sending pieces of bone into her windpipe.

She survived.

Bruce’s mother, Constance Bennett, checked on her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren when they didn’t show up at a family-owned furniture store to work.

“It’s just like it was yesterday, it’s something I’ll never get over. It’s scary what people can do”, Constance Bennett recalled to the Denver Post in 2015. Constance would raise Vanessa, but recovery for the three year-old wouldn’t be easy. Vanessa would undergo many surgeries over the years to fix her skull and jaw. Then all the scars on her arms, face and head.

Just eleven days later on January 27, 1984, an intruder broke into a home in Kingman, Arizona, over 865 miles from Aurora, Colorado. The intruder then savagely beat a resident over the head with a rock.

Twenty-four year-old Alex Christopher Ewing was arrested for the attack in Kingman, Arizona. It was just eleven days after the Bennett attack.

According to the Arizona Republic, a then twenty-four year-old Alex Christopher Ewing escaped while being transported from a jail back to Kingman, Arizona for a court hearing. Two days later he broke into a home in Henderson, Nevada, and brutally beat sleeping couple with an ax handle.

He was captured after being on the run for just two days.

Ewing is eligible for parole on July 1, 2021, and will remain parole until April 10, 2037.  It’s unclear if the Arapahoe County District Attorney plans to indicted Ewing tomorrow or just name him as a suspect in the notorious Colorado Hammer Murders.

Alex Christopher Ewing is guaranteed to be in prison just under three more years, giving police and prosecutors plenty of time to ensure this dangerous serial killer never gets out of prison.

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