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Hammer murder suspect seeking delay in extradition as he prepares appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

Without court ruling, Alex Christopher Ewing could be extradited as soon as Feb. 19. He faces multiple charges in 1984 killings in Lakewood and Aurora.
Credit: Reno Gazette Journal
Alex Christopher Ewing appears in a Nevada courtroom on Oct. 2, 2018.

AURORA, Colo. — The attorney for a man suspected in four brutal 1984 hammer murders in the Denver area has asked for another delay in his extradition to Colorado as he tries to get the U.S. Supreme Court to block his transfer, 9Wants to Know has learned.

In an “emergency motion” filed late Thursday night, Alex Christopher Ewing’s attorney asked the Nevada Supreme Court to grant a 120-day stay of its earlier order that denied his appeal and set the stage for his extradition.

If the court doesn’t grant the motion, Ewing could be brought to Colorado as soon as Feb. 19.

Ewing, 59, is suspected in the Jan. 10, 1984, murder of Patricia Louise Smith in Lakewood and the Jan. 16, 1984, murders of Bruce and Debra Bennett and their daughter Melissa in Aurora. He was identified as a suspect in the summer of 2018 after Nevada began taking DNA from all the prisoners in its corrections system.

Credit: Courtesy Bennett Family
Melissa Bennett, left, and her parents, Bruce and Debra Bennett, were murdered the night of Jan. 16, 1984. Only Vanessa Bennett, 3, survived.

Ewing has been behind bars in Nevada since an ax-handle attack on a Henderson couple in August 1984 – seven months after the killings in Colorado. He is serving a 110-year-sentence for that attack.

A Nevada judge ordered his extradition to Colorado in December 2018, but his attorneys appealed and successfully sought multiple delays in the case.

RELATED: Suspect in hammer murders asks Nevada Supreme Court to overturn order extraditing him to Colorado

Ewing’s attorney has asserted that the extradition order is invalid because he was not given a court-appointed lawyer during the process. The lawyer, Martin Wiener, has further alleged that Nevada law requires that he finish his sentence there before he could serve any sentence in Colorado, and as a result, the extradition agreement between the two states contradicts the law.

Jefferson County prosecutors have formally charged Ewing with four counts of first-degree murder and two counts of committing a crime of violence in the murder of Smith at the condominium she shared with her daughter and grandchildren. Smith, 50, was raped and beaten to death with an auto body hammer after apparently being surprised by an intruder while eating lunch.

Arapahoe County prosecutors have not formally charged Ewing in the Bennett case but have an arrest warrant obtained in 2002 that lists 13 separate charges, including six counts of first-degree murder and four counts of sexual assault.

RELATED: She was the sole survivor of one of Colorado's most brutal crimes. Now, she's telling her story

Ewing is also suspected in two other hammer attacks in Aurora that occurred earlier that month, including one in which a woman was sexually assaulted, beaten and left for dead. However, he has not been charged in those cases – and it appears he won’t be because the statute of limitations has run.

According to court documents obtained by 9Wants to Know, Ewing was arrested in Kingman, Ariz., 11 days after the Bennett murders, accused of breaking into a home there and beating a man with a 25-pound rock. Because of overcrowded conditions at the jail in Kingman, Ewing was held for a time at a detention center in Utah.

On Aug. 9, 1984, Ewing was being transported from Utah back to Kingman for a court hearing when he ran off after jail deputies stopped a transport van in Henderson, Nevada, for a bathroom break. That night, Ewing broke into a home in Henderson, Nev., and attacked a couple with an ax handle, savagely beating them. He was arrested two days later, convicted of multiple charges and has been in Nevada’s prison system ever since.

Contact 9NEWS reporter Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: kevin.vaughan@9news.com or 303-871-1862.

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