For more than 34 years – ever since the snowy Monday morning that was Jan. 16, 1984 – Connie Bennett’s mind was dominated by a simple wish.
On that frigid day, she’d stepped into the Aurora home her son, Bruce, shared with his wife, Debra, and their daughters, Melissa and Vanessa, to a scene of horror that was hard to comprehend. Bruce lay dead on the floor, his head beaten in with a hammer, his throat slashed. Debra and Melissa, a day away from her eighth birthday, were dead, too.
Only Vanessa, 3, was alive – horribly injured in an attack that defied reason or explanation, but still breathing.
And so it was that for more than three decades, she wished only that she would live long enough to “take a look at whoever this monster is.”
TIMELINE | The 1984 hammer attacks
Connie Bennett got her wish in August, when investigators zeroed in on a Nevada convict as a suspect in the inexplicable murders of her son and his family – and the killing a week earlier of Patricia Louise Smith, a 50-year-old grandmother, in the Lakewood condominium she shared with her daughter and grandchildren.
Alex Christopher Ewing, it turned out, had been behind bars for all but 13 days since the attack on the Bennett family after being accused of a similar assault in Arizona and then convicted of yet another one in Nevada.
Now authorities in Arapahoe and Jefferson counties are fighting to bring Ewing, 58, to back to Colorado to stand trial on multiple felony charges in the two attacks.
For Connie Bennett, now 85 years old, there is some relief in knowing that a suspect is in custody. But the bewildering question – why? – will never be satisfactorily answered for her.
“There are a lot of things that happen in this world that are natural disasters,” she told 9NEWS. “There are illnesses. We can be attacked by a lot of things. But this is so senseless. You know, there's no reason for it. And so that's what bothers me mostly about him.”
Contact 9NEWS reporter Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: email@example.com or 303-871-1862.