A Nevada prison inmate serving a multiple sentences including attempted murder has been tied to a series of murders in Colorado by his DNA.
Christopher Ewing, 59, has been in prison here since his August 1984 conviction in Clark County. He was convicted of beating a sleeping couple with an axe handle, burglary and attempted escape.
Vickki Migoya, communications director for the 18th District DA’s office in Colorado, credited Nevada’s 2013 law requiring DNA samples of all inmates to be loaded into the FBI’s national database for Ewing’s identification.
“If that wouldn’t have happened, we wouldn’t have found him,” she said.
Migoya said their office took the “unusual step,” of filing charges against “John Doe” after the DNA match in 2002 tied him to the four unsolved murders committed 26 years ago. But, until last July, they didn’t know whose DNA it was.
“We knew we had a specific individual,” she said. “We just didn’t have a name.”
That’s when the FBI’s DNA database tied Ewing to the January 1984 murders of Bruce and Debra Bennett and their 7-year-old daughter Melissa in Aurora and the murder of Patricia Louise Smith in the Lakewood, Colo., condominium she shared with her daughter and grandchildren
He now faces a total of 13 charges in including six murder counts, attempted murder for nearly killing the Bennett’s 3-year-old daughter Vanessa plus two counts of sexual assault on a child and burglary.
Colorado officials said at a press conference with Boise’s KTVB television that they haven’t decided whether to seek the death penalty but that they will ask Nevada to allow them to take Ewing to Colorado for trial on those charges.
A spokesman for the Nevada Department of Corrections said Ewing is in the Northern Nevada Correctional Center. His full term won’t expire until July 2037 but he is eligible for parole in July of next year.