JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colorado — The man on trial for the January 1984 murder of a woman in Lakewood – who was convicted last year of killing three members of an Aurora family that same month – claimed the system was “rigged,” that he’d been treated “unfairly,” and that authorities ignored his efforts to lead them to “the people who actually committed these crimes.”
Alex Christopher Ewing, 61, faces first-degree murder charges in the slaying of Patricia Smith, an interior designer who was sexually assaulted and beaten to death with a hammer.
His comments Tuesday came outside the presence of the jury as District Judge Tamara Russell told him he had the right to testify – and that if he decided not to take the stand the jury could not hold that against him.
After telling Russell that he was 61, was in school through the 12th grade, had no trouble with the English language, and was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Ewing said, “Yes, ma’am,” when asked if he understood he had the right to testify.
Russell also told him if he decided to testify, he could be cross-examined, and his prior felony convictions would be shared with the jury.
“I understand what you’re saying,” Ewing said at one point, flanked by his attorneys, Stephen McCrohan and Katherine Spengler.
Later during the conversation, Ewing said, “I don’t want to testify, but I got good reasons why I don’t want to.”
Then the judge asked him again if he had any questions about the advisement she was giving him.
“I understand that,” Ewing said. “Your honor, I got a lot of issues right now. 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 going to just twist it around.”
Asked again if he understood his rights, he replied, “I said I do, yes.” Then later he said, “No, I don’t have any rights.”
“I already said I’m not going to testify,” Ewing said at another point. “I just don’t like the idea that if I do say something,” that the attorneys will “twist it around.”
“You guys don’t want the people who actually committed the crimes, you just want the conviction,” Ewing said. “That’s actually the way I see it.”
Russell asked whether anyone was forcing or coercing him not to testify, Ewing answered, “No, but I’m being pressured in another way by the state.”
He said the prosecutors “rigged the whole thing.”
“Nothing has been fair, absolutely, since I got off the plane,” Ewing said.
Ewing was serving a 110-year sentence in Nevada for a 1984 ax-handle attack on a couple in Henderson when he was identified as a suspect in the Bennett and Smith murders. That break in those two long-cold cases came when Ewing’s DNA was taken by Nevada authorities in 2018, and it matched DNA from the Smith and Bennett crime scenes.
After fighting extradition, he was moved to Colorado in early 2020 to face charges in the two cases.
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