CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) - A judge sentenced Alex Ewing to three life sentences on Tuesday after he was found guilty in the 1984 murders of three people in Aurora. The jury found Ewing guilty on Aug. 6 of killing three members of the Bennett family with a hammer.
Advancements in DNA evidence led investigators to a match with Ewing and samples collected from the crime scene as well as one of the victims 34 years later.
On the night of Jan. 15, 1984, the Bennett family left their garage door open. Bruce and Debra Bennett lived with their daughter Melissa and younger daughter, Vanessa. In just two days, Melissa would turn 8 years old. All four of them were attacked inside the home that night, only Vanessa survived.
Bruce and Debra were brutally attacked and killed inside their home, Melissa was killed and also raped. Bruce's mother would discover the family the next day inside the home, after no one answered calls to their landline.
The prosecution compared the Bennett family murders to another murder where a woman, Patricia Smith of Lakewood, was also murdered with a hammer earlier that same month. In that homicide, DNA evidence was found matching Ewing.
The mandatory minimum sentence for each count is life with possibility of parole after 20 years, according to the prosecution. Those were the sentencing rules in 1984, and since these crimes were committed at that time, Ewing is grandfathered into those standards.
The life sentences will be served consecutively.
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