A former Nevada prison inmate was sentenced Tuesday to three consecutive life sentences in the long-unsolved 1984 hammer killings of three Colorado family members, including a 7-year-old girl, inside their suburban Denver home.

Sixty-one-year-old Alex Ewing was convicted Aug. 6 of first degree murder after a two-day trial in which prosecutors contended Ewing used a hammer and a knife to kill Bruce Bennett, his wife Debra and daughter Melissa in the Bennetts’ home. Melissa Bennett also was raped, prosecutors said.

Another daughter, 3-year-old Vanessa, was beaten in the head with a hammer as were her parents and sister but survived the attack.

Arapahoe County District Court Judge Darren Vahle told Ewing on Tuesday that the crimes Ewing was convicted of were the worst he’d seen in a quarter-century of practicing law, The Aurora Sentinel reported.

Ewing was identified as a suspect in 2018 through DNA evidence while in imprisoned in Nevada, where he was convicted of attacking a couple in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson in 1984 with an ax handle in their bedroom. The results of a DNA sample taken from Ewing were linked with DNA developed years later from evidence taken from the scenes of the Colorado killings.