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|Dana James Ewell|
January 28, 1971 |
Sunnyside, California, U.S.
|Parent(s)||Dale Ewell (father)
Glee Ewell (mother)
Ewell's father, businessman and multimillionaire Dale Ewell, his mother Glee and his older sister Tiffany were murdered on April 19, 1992, in their Sunnyside, California, home, near Fresno. At the time of the murders, Dana Ewell lived in the family home. Although he had an alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the murders, authorities suspected his involvement when Ewell expressed anger at learning that he would not inherit his family's wealth until age 35. Ewell's father, Dale, who had built his airplane sales company from scratch, discovered that Dana had been attributing himself to his father's accomplishments. Dale immediately increased Dana's age of inheritance from twenty-one to thirty-five. Dana did not discover what his father had done until Dale's will was read; Dana asked angrily how his father could increase his age of inheritance. Investigators considered and dismissed a number of other possible suspects (including Dale's business associates) before focusing on Dana, who was suspected of arranging his parents' deaths to obtain the family's estimated $7.9 million fortune.
Police eventually determined that Ernest Jack Ponce, a friend of Ewell's college classmate Joel Radovcich, bought a 9 mm assault rifle shortly before the murders and concealed evidence (making him an accessory in the case). In exchange for immunity from prosecution, Ponce agreed to testify against Ewell and Radovcich. Radovcich used a homemade silencer on the rifle, lying in wait for the Ewells in their home in California's Central Valley as they returned from a long weekend on the Pacific coast.
The case was investigated by Fresno County Sheriff's Office homicide detectives John Souza and Chris Curtice. Fresno County Assistant District Attorneys James Oppliger and Jeffrey Hammerschmidt prosecuted Ewell and Radovcich in a jury trial which lasted over eight months. Ewell and Radovcich, who was promised a part of the family fortune in return for the killings, were sentenced on July 20, 1998. They are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole, and all appeals have been denied. Ewell is in the Protective Housing Unit of California State Prison, Corcoran with Charles Manson, Juan Corona and other murderers requiring isolation from the general prison population.
The case is covered in the Forensic Files episode "Two in a Million" (season 11, episode 40, aired April 18, 2007), The New Detectives episode "Family Plots" (season 5, episode 9, aired January 25, 2000) and the Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege, and Justice episode "Tailspin" (season 3, episode 5, aired September 5, 2003). City Confidential ("Fatal Inheritance"), American Justice ("Eight Million Reasons to Kill"), and Solved also did episodes on the case.
- "Son, Friend Convicted of Killing Parents, Sister". Los Angeles Times. The Associated Press. 13 May 1998. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- Beitiks, Kathleen O. (May 1997). "Wheels of justice grind slowly in Ewell murders". California Bar Journal.
- "Dana Ewell biography". Biography.com. A&E Television Networks. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
- Arax, Mark (21 March 1995). "Game of Dare Ends Between Detectives, Wealthy Suspect : Crime: Son of Fresno millionaire is charged with hiring hit men to kill his family. He maintains his innocence.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- Abrahamson, Alan; Arax, Mark (16 May 1995). "Friendship Led Police to 2 in Fresno Slayings : Crime: The alleged triggerman and the heir to a family fortune are accused of killing three people in 1992. Detectives say their brazen behavior was their undoing.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- Arax, Mark (22 March 1993). "CALIFORNIA ALBUM : Slaying of Family Remains a Mystery : Fresno police have mostly discounted possible ties of wealthy businessman to drug dealing or disgruntled Filipino investors. They now focus on the lone surviving son.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- Abrahamson, Alan; Arax, Mark (16 May 1995). "Fresno Murder Probe Leads to Key Evidence in Reseda". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- Erik Hedegaard (November 21, 2013). "Charles Manson Today: The Final Confessions of America's Most Notorious Psychopath - Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
Right now, he has only about 15 other prisoners to contend with, among them Juan Corona, who murdered 25 people in 1971; Dana Ewell, who ordered the murder of his own family in 1992; Phillip Garrido, the rapist who kidnapped 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard and held her for 18 years; and Mikhail Markhasev, who was convicted of killing Bill Cosby's son, Ennis.
- "'Forensic Files' Season 12 Episode Guide", TV Guide, retrieved December 19, 2015