CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)– A jury has been seated in the trial for Alex Ewing, the man accused of using a hammer to kill four people in Aurora. Opening statements are scheduled for Tuesday. It’s been nearly four decades since the gruesome murders of Bruce and Debra Bennett and their 7-year-old daughter Melissa in Aurora in January 1984.

Alex Christopher Ewing in arapahoe county court

(credit: CBS)

The Bennett’s 3-year-old daughter, Vanessa, was severely injured but survived.

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Ewing is also charged with killing Patricia Louise Smith in Lakewood about a week before the Bennett murders. He is scheduled to go on trial in that case in October.

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(credit: Bennett family)

Ewing was identified as a suspect in 2018 through DNA evidence while in prison in Nevada, where he was convicted of attacking a couple with an ax handle in their bedroom. The results of a DNA sample taken from Ewing in was entered into a national database and linked with DNA developed from evidence taken from the scenes of the Colorado killings.

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Patricia Louise Smith (credit: CBS)

Ewing fought extradition but was sent to Colorado to face the charges last year. He has pleaded not guilty. The trial is scheduled for three weeks.

Jennifer McRae