Hike sentence

‘Hammer Killer’ locked up for another life sentence for the murder of Patricia Smith

Lakewood Police Department

Patricia Smith (Photo courtesy of Lakewood Police Department)

Members of Patricia Smith’s family rarely referred to her killer by name during her sentencing hearing on Tuesday, choosing instead to call the killer a “vile, vicious, evil monster” and a “boogeyman.”

“It wasn’t a human who took my mother’s life,” Chery Lettin said. “He was an evil monster that doesn’t deserve to walk this Earth.”

Lettin was joined by three other family members to address First Judicial District Judge Tamara Russell during the sentencing of Alex Ewing, convicted last week of first-degree murder and two counts of murder in the 1984 murder of Smith, 50, to her. The Lakewood home during a wave of violence in the Denver area attributed to the so-called “Hammer Killer”.

Amber Reese, Smith’s granddaughter and Lettin’s daughter, said she hoped “to rest easy as a piece of evil is locked away.”

At the end of the hearing, Russell sentenced Ewing, 61, to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years – although that sentence is being served consecutively to the three life sentences handed down by a county judge. Arapahoe last year for the murders. of three members of the Bennett family in Aurora during this same series of attacks.

Ewing was serving a 40-year sentence in a Nevada prison for the attempted murder of a couple he beat with an ax handle in August 1984 when DNA matched it to evidence recovered from the victims of the rapes and murders of January 1984 in Colorado.

Joe Reese, grandson of Smith and son of Lettin, told the court during Tuesday’s hearing that he was still anxious about the crime, wondering how it might have turned out differently if his whole family had been home when Ewing came in and killed Smith with a hammer.

Reese also lamented that his safety blanket, often so vital to young children, was ruined alongside his innocence, as it was used by Ewing to cover Smith’s body.

Barry Smith, the victim’s brother, said he was also traumatized by the vicious crime.

“To this day, I can’t go to a hardware store and I can’t walk down the aisle with hammers,” he said.

Smith and Lettin agreed that while the life sentence won’t shut down the family, they were ready to move on and start celebrating their loved one’s life with family and friends. .

“We won’t allow him (Ewing) to affect us anymore,” Smith said.

The prosecution argued for the maximum sentence to be served consecutively to his Arapahoe County sentence, with no credit given for the time Ewing served in jail during the trial. The defense argued that credit should be given to Ewing’s time and that the sentence should be served concurrently with his previous convictions in Nevada and Colorado.

Russell agreed with the prosecution on imposing a consecutive sentence, but said it would take more time to review the case law to decide whether or not to offer Ewing pre-sentence credit.

“I don’t think it’s going to make a big difference,” Russell said, considering the more than four life sentences Ewing already faces.

Lettin said the family still struggled to come to terms with his mother’s murder.

“We know there will be good times and bad times, but who among us is prepared for pure evil?” Lettin said in his court statement.

In delivering her sentence, Russell said she wished she had the power to do more. The judge advised the family to seek closure within itself, not through Ewing’s conviction.

“I can’t replace a loved one,” Russell said. “I can’t make you feel any better.”

Further decisions on where Ewing will serve his sentence will be made by the Colorado Department of Corrections through discussions with Nevada prison officials.