Dana Ewell (born January 28, 1971, Fresno,
California) is an American convicted triple murderer, sentenced to
three life sentences for ordering the killing of his mother, father,
and sister in 1992.
Dana Ewell's father, businessman and
multi-millionaire Dale Ewell, his mother Glee (née Mitchell), and his
older sister Tiffany were murdered so he could access the family
fortune. A 9-mm pistol with a homemade silencer was used by Ewell's
roommate at Santa Clara University, Joel Radovcich, to murder the
family on Easter Sunday in their home in the Central Valley as they
returned from a long weekend on the coast.
Dana Ewell was sentenced on May 12, 1998, alongside
friend and classmate Joel Radovcich, who was promised a part of the
family fortune in return for murdering Dana's family.
Ernest Jack Ponce (who procured the murder weapon)
was also charged with the murders, but he obtained a dismissal in
exchange for his testimony and was later licensed as an attorney.
At the time of the murders, Dana Ewell still lived
at home in the family's comfortable Sunnyside-area home near Fresno.
In his freshman year at San Joaquin Memorial High School, Ewell
claimed his goal was to be a multi-millionaire by age 25, but at age
21, he was still being supported by his parents. The murders took
place on Sunday, April 19, 1992.
Dana had been lying to his friends, claiming that
he was personally financially successful. Dana claimed to be a
stock-market wiz and he also claimed to own his own airplane transport
company. Dana's father found out that his son had been going around
lying and bragging. Dana's father told him that he was getting cut off
financially that summer, when he was expected to graduate from Santa
Dana was angry and this is what led him to plot the
murders, although ironically it was ultimately revealed to Dana during
the reading of his father's will that his father instructed that the
family fortune be given to Dana but in installments. Ewell's furious
reaction to not gaining his full inheritance and his lack of grief
over the deaths of his parents and sister led to his uncles informing
investigators about the possibility that Dana was behind the murders.
Fresno County Assistant District Attorneys James
Oppliger and Jeffrey Hammerschmidt prosecuted Ewell and Radovcich in a
jury trial that took more than eight months. Ewell and Radovcich are
serving life sentences without the possibility of parole; their
appeals have all been denied and exhausted. Ewell is housed in the
Protective Housing Unit of California State Prison, Corcoran.
The case was covered in a one-hour show of Dominick
Dunne's investigative show Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege, and
The case appeared in the truTV network-aired
episode of Forensic Files, episode 282, titled "Two in a Million".
The case appeared in the truTV network-aired
episode of American Justice, episode 170, titled "Millions Of Reasons
The case was briefly covered in the series E!
Investigates in the episode "Rich Kids Who Kill" (Season 1, Episode
The case was featured in The New Detectives episode
The case was presented in Discovery Channel's
The case was featured on the episode "The Perfect
Crime" of the series Behind Mansion Walls.
The case was featured on the episode "Fatal Family
Reunion" of the series Killer Instinct.
Ewell family murders
By Corin Hoggard - ABClocal.go.com
Monday, April 30, 2012
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A well-known and Fresno
family was murdered 20 years ago in one of the most notorious crimes
In 1992, Dana Ewell had his college friend, Joel
Radovcich kill his family, and stood to inherit millions.
In 1998, he was sentenced to life in prison with no
chance at parole. Ewell is currently locked up at Corcoran State
Action News has uncovered some new details about
the case, and the questions about this crime that have never been
20 years after the most complicated case of his
young career, former Fresno County homicide investigator Chris Curtice,
still remembers nearly every detail of the triple murder case. He says
only the second victim -- Glee Ewell -- caught a glimpse of the killer
-- a man who was her son's guest in the house just a month before.
Curtice said, "The shooter actually went and
straddled her and shot her at close range."
Former prosecutor, Jeff Hammerschmidt said, "I'm
sure when she saw who it was, she knew her son was murdering her."
Shaved hairless from head to toe and lying on a
plastic sheet, Joel Radovcich left behind no DNA and no shell casings
behind as he murdered Glee, Dale and Tiffany Ewell on Easter in 1992.
Dana Ewell stood to gain the most from the deaths,
becoming the sole heir to an $8 million fortune. But the 21-year-old
soon discovered he'd have to wait nine years before controlling most
of the money.
Hammerschmidt said, "When the will was read, he
pounded his fist and said, 'how could my father do that to me?' and
maybe his father was wondering the same thing -- how his son could do
that to him."
Jeff Hammerschmidt was the junior prosecutor in the
murder trial. He traced activity in Ewell's 47 bank accounts to prove
he was funneling money to Radovcich -- a person he claimed to barely
A complicated timeline covering the length of a
hallway also outlined their contacts.
The 12 people who found both suspects guilty of the
three murders have rarely spoken about the case. But now, jury foreman
Mike Elder tells Action News jurors could sense Ewell was an evil man.
"Dana actually scared people," Elder said. "They
would look over at him and he had this look on his face. You just
thought any minute these horns were going to come up."
And although they believed Joel Radovcich shot and
killed Ewell's parents, jurors sympathized with the triggerman. They
saw him as a broken being, someone Dana Ewell simply used as means to
Joel's attorney, Phil Cherney, says similar
emotions spilled from Santa Clara University students forced to
testify in court. "What would happen is, they would come in and look
at Joel and start crying."
The case initially targeted a third defendant --
the man who admitted to buying the murder weapon and later, burying
Prosecutors gave Ernest Jack Ponce immunity in
exchange for his testimony, but Elder says the jury didn't trust what
Ponce said. He described the murders in great detail -- too much
detail for some -- and Elder thinks he had a Freudian slip while
talking about how Dale Ewell died.
Elder explained, "He was supposedly saying this
from the standpoint of Joel, but he said, 'and I saw the eye,' and
then corrected himself."
In fact, several jurors believed Radovcich was not
alone at the Ewell house. But because of his immunity, they couldn't
stop Ponce from walking away a free man.
Elder said, "You know, I wouldn't say every juror,
I couldn't guarantee every juror thought he was there. I can only say
that most of them did."
Hammerschmidt says he thought Ponce was truly in
the dark about the murders until Radovcich laid out the details.
Ponce even passed a lie detector test. Two decades
later, he is an attorney in Orange County. He never responded to our
repeated requests for comment on the case. His true role may always
remain a mystery, but it's not the only one surrounding the killers.
Prosecutors couldn't prove that Dana and Joel had
also targeted the Ewell family member who was most vocal about
suspecting Joel after the murders -- a grandfather in Ohio.
Hammerschmidt said, "His grandfather ended up dying
as a result of an explosion in his basement and there was evidence
that Joel Radovcich was in Ohio around that same time."
Detectives also suspected Ewell of trying to have
Radovcich kill his grandmother. Without any of that evidence, jurors
couldn't reach a unanimous decision on whether the killers should be
put to death. Both men have now exhausted their appeals and will die
Instead of becoming a millionaire, Dana Ewell is
isolated at Corcoran State Prison. His uncle tells Action News he'd
rather forget Dana even exists, while the victims live on in his
memories -- together forever.
Son, Friend Convicted of Killing Parents, Sister
Los Angeles Times
May 13, 1998
FRESNO — The son of a prominent Fresno family was
convicted Tuesday of murdering his parents and sister with the help of
a college dorm mate in a plot to inherit the family's $8-million
After 11 days of deliberations, a Fresno County
Superior Court jury found that 26-year-old Dana Ewell hired his
college friend, Joel Radovcich, to kill his family so they could split
the family's fortune.
Both were found guilty in the murders of Dale Ewell,
59; his wife, Glee, 57, and their daughter, Tiffany, 24.
The conviction of both men on three counts of
first-degree murder in the 1992 slayings means that they are eligible
for the death penalty.
During the four-month trial, prosecutors had argued
that Ewell and Radovcich wanted to be millionaires by the time they
The victims were shot to death in their Fresno home
on Easter, just after returning home from a trip to the coast. Dana
Ewell, then 21, remained at the coast to have dinner with his
girlfriend's family, including her FBI agent father.
Despite that alibi, Fresno County sheriff's
investigators said Dana Ewell was the prime suspect from the start.
However, he and Radovcich weren't arrested until 1995 after a friend
of Radovcich gave a detailed account of the killings that he said he
learned from Radovcich.
The friend, Ernest Jack Ponce, testified in court
that Radovcich, now 27, told him that Tiffany Ewell was the first
victim to be shot.
"He said she walked by the room he was waiting in
and he shot her. . . . He said he shot her in the head," Ponce said.
He testified that Radovcich shot the mother several
times, then changed magazines in the gun and put on fresh gloves while
waiting for Dale Ewell to come home.
"He said the father came in the door, and he waited
until he shut the door and waited until the father walked past the
room he was in and then he stepped out and shot him," Ponce said.
Ponce testified that he purchased the assault rifle
that Radovcich used in the killings and helped him dispose of gun
parts, fired shells, a silencer and tennis shoes.
Ponce was not charged because prosecutors granted
him immunity in exchange for his testimony.
Prosecutors contended that the only way that
Radovcich could get into the Ewell home was with the help of Dana
Ewell, who knew the alarm security code.
Ewell's attorney, Ernest Kinney, said that his
client wasn't involved and that Ponce and Radovcich plotted the
slayings by themselves. Kinney accused Ponce of being the killer.
Radovcich's lawyer, Phillip Cherney, didn't deny
his client's involvement but instead painted Radovcich as a victim.
Former public board member's son convicted in killing of family
By Kathleen O.
Beitiks - California Bar Journal
Portrayed as a rich boy consumed by greed,
27-year-old Dana Ewell was convicted last month of murdering his
father Dale, sister Tiffany and mother Glee, a former public member of
the State Bar Board of Governors. Six years after the 1992 Easter
Sunday slayings in the Ewell family Fresno home, a jury took 10 days
to convict Ewell and his college buddy, Joel Radovcich, 27, of
first-degree murder with special circumstances. The conviction could
bring a life term in prison or the death penalty.
"What a tragedy for the whole family," said Don
Fischbach, a Fresno attorney, former president of the State Bar and
friend of Ewell's mother, Glee. "First three people died and now a
bright, young man has been convicted."
Fischbach complimented the jury, however, saying it
was a "diligent group of people and they worked hard."
Fresno's most sensational trial in recent memory
culminated with the convictions after more than four months of
testimony and more than 100 witnesses.
The bodies of Glee, 57, her husband Dale, 59, and
their daughter Tiffany, 24, were found by the family's cleaning woman
and a neighbor, who had been called by Dana to check the home when he
couldn't reach his parents after Easter.
Fresno county sheriff's detectives were initially
baffled by the murders, noting that it appeared the Ewell home had
been ransacked in an attempt to make the killings look like the result
of a botched burglary.
Following a long and tedious investigation,
detectives arrested both men in 1995, suspecting that Dana convinced
Radovcich to kill his family with the intent of gaining control of and
splitting his $8 million inheritance.
Since the arrests, the Ewell fortune has fallen to
about $5 million after payment of estate taxes.
Dana's conviction prevents him from claiming the
inheritance, which will be split among relatives.
The case became exceedingly complicated, involved a
multitude of lawyers, probate issues and complex financial
transactions. Defense lawyers were denied a change of venue, but due
to the sensational nature of the trial, Judge Frank J. Creede imposed
a gag order in the case.
Prosecutors produced a star witness, Jack Ponce,
27, a friend of Radovcich's brother, who testified that Radovcich told
him he put on several layers of latex gloves and sat on plastic sheets
while waiting for the Ewells to come home from a weekend trip to their
beach house in Pajaro Dunes, west of Watsonville.
Glee and Tiffany drove back to Fresno, while Dale,
a rancher and owner of an aircraft business, flew home in his
Radovcich used a silencer and first shot Tiffany, a
graduate student at Fresno State University. Then Glee was shot four
times. Glee's body was found with her arm shielding her eyes. Dale was
shot once from behind as he walked into the house from the garage a
At the time of the murders, Dana was having dinner
in Morgan Hill with his girlfriend Monica's family, including her FBI
agent father, John Zent.
Also called to testify during the trial were Dana's
uncles (Dale's brothers) who said Dana was upset when he later learned
his parents' will was structured to release half of the estate when he
was 30 and the remainder when he turned 35.
A decision was made to try Ewell and Radovcich
together. Prosecutors James Oppliger and Jeffrey Ham-merschmidt
presented enough evidence to convince the jury that both defendants
were guilty of the murders. Neither defendant took the stand.
Prosecutors showed the jury that Radovcich's AT-9
rifle was used in the slayings and that the bullets most likely came
from a 20-year-old box of ammunition from Dale's nightstand.
At the same time Ewell and Radovcich were arrested,
Radovcich's brother Peter and his friend Ponce also were arrested in
connection with the case. Ponce agreed to testify for the prosecution
in exchange for immunity. He told the jury that he bought the murder
weapon for Radovcich, who he thought was going to sell it for a
Testimony showed that within weeks of his family's
deaths, Dana had access to more than $800,000, but about $124,000 in
cash could not be accounted for.
Records showed that Radovcich paid between $33,000
and $45,000 for flight lessons even though he did not have a job.
Glee Ewell was a well-known civic activist in
Fresno who served from 1985-91 on the bar board of governors.
Wheels of justice grind slowly in Ewell murders
By Kathleen O. Beitiks - California Bar Journal
Five years after the brutal murder of former State
Bar Board of Governors member Glee Ewell, a prime suspect -- her son
-- sits in jail awaiting trial.
Dana Ewell, 26, and his college buddy, Joel
Radovcich, 26, were arrested two years ago and have pleaded innocent
to the charges that they killed Glee Ewell, 57, her husband Dale, 59,
and their daughter Tiffany, 24, on Easter Sunday in 1992.
The case has become exceedingly complicated,
involving a multitude of lawyers, millions of dollars, probate issues
and complex financial transactions.
In the latest development, all parties involved are
awaiting a ruling from the 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno on
suppression issues and whether or not Ewell and Radovcich can be tried
That ruling could come any day or as far away as
July, says Jeff Hammerschmidt, one of the prosecutors in the case.
Meanwhile, in commenting on the multitude of
delays, Hammerschmidt said investigation of the case has generated
4,700 pages of sheriff's reports and at least 1,000 pages from his
Because this is a death penalty case, "it's a long
and tedious process," said Hammerschmidt. "It's unusual, but all
parties want to get to trial as soon as we can," he said.
The Ewell case has been of particular interest,
said Hammerschmidt, because of its unusual circumstances and the
prominence of the Fresno family. "This is not the type of victim we
usually see. We usually deal with gangs," he said.
Dana Ewell's defense lawyer, Peter Jones of the
Fresno County public defender's office, also is anxious to get the
trial moving, but acknowledges that the complexity of the case is
bogging it down. "It's a quagmire," says Jones. "This case has more
discovery by far than any capital case I've seen."
Fresno lawyer Ernest S. Kinney recently volunteered
to help defend Ewell, but with the mound of paperwork involved, he is
still immersed in documents trying to get up to speed, said Jones.
Jones is especially concerned about the publicity
the case has generated and plans to ask for another change of venue
when the trial gets started, "but it will probably fall on deaf ears."
His original request was denied by the court.
Jones is troubled by the results of surveys from
his office which indicate that 85 percent of Fresno area residents
have heard of the case and 60 percent have already made up their
Of even more concern is the prospect that a book
being written about the Ewell case may be released before or during
the trial, he said.
Officials speculate that Dana Ewell, who was 24 at
the time of the murders, hired his friend Radovcich to kill his
mother, father and sister, in order to gain control over the family's
estimated $7 million estate.
Ernest Jack Ponce, 26, of San Bernardino and Joel
Radovcich's brother, Peter Radovcich, 26, of West Hills also were
arrested in connection with the murders but later released. Ponce
reportedly supplied the weapon to Joel, and Peter Radovcich allegedly
helped destroy it. Ponce agreed to testify for the prosecution.
Glee and Dale Ewell's will specified that in the
event of their deaths, the bulk of their estate would be held in trust
and distributed on Dana Ewell's 25th, 30th and 35th birthdays.
But because of the murder charges, assets from the
estate have been frozen, leaving Dana Ewell without funds and eligible
for representation by the county public defender.
According to reports in the Fresno Bee, Dana Ewell
also became the executor of his grandmother's $400,000 trust account
after his family was killed. The account was set up in the 1970s for
Glee Ewell's mother, Glee Mitchell, who is now 93 and lives in a rest
Investigators, however, discovered that in the
years since Dana Ewell took control, the trust account dwindled to
less than $2,000. Financial records showed hundreds of transactions
during a three-year period, which officials believe were used to
support the lifestyles of Ewell, Radovcich and Ewell's girlfriend,
Monica Zent, a law student at the University of San Diego.
The Fresno Bee reports that court documents show
transactions involving Ewell's grandmother's trust account included a
$17,014 check to the University of San Diego, about $40,000 in checks
payable to Zent, $11,320 for flying lessons for Ewell and Radovcich,
and more than $200,000 to retain a lawyer for Ewell after he was
Investigators also found more than 25 accounts in
14 different banks. Some of the accounts were in Dana Ewell's name,
while others were held jointly with his grandmother or his girlfriend.
Most of the funds were eventually returned to the
accounts and, although the transactions were considerably tangled and
complicated, some observers say they were not necessarily illegal.
Dana Ewell was to have inherited the bulk of his
family's estate had his parent and sister died naturally.
However, because the family was murdered, Dale
Ewell's three brothers have attempted to prevent their nephew from
receiving any of the funds.
According to Jones, more complications have arisen
since 1994, when Dana Ewell's grandfather died in a basement explosion
in his home in Ohio, which fire officials have attributed to an unsafe
gas generator. Meanwhile, his estate is still unsettled.
The Ewell family spent Easter weekend 1992 at their
vacation home in Pajaro Dunes, a coastal development outside
On that Sunday, Glee and Tiffany, a graduate
student at Fresno State University, drove back to their Fresno home
while Dale returned in his airplane. Dale was a rancher and owner of
Western Piper Sales Inc., selling general aviation aircraft.
Sheriff's officials believe the killer was in the
Ewell home and shot Glee and Tiffany when they arrived. Dale was
killed about 30 minutes later after he entered the house from the
At the time of the murders, Dana was having dinner
in Morgan Hill with his girlfriend's family, including her FBI agent
father, John Zent.
Arrested in 1995
After nearly three years of a frustrating
investigation, Fresno County sheriff's officials arrested Ewell and
Radovcich in March 1995.
Ewell turned himself in to authorities in southern
California when he discovered he was sought by the Fresno County
According to The Bee, money was a driving factor in
Dana Ewell's life. He had expensive taste in clothes and cars, driving
a gold Mercedes Benz. In addition, his relationship with his father, a
hard-driving businessman, was on rocky grounds.
Ewell attended the University of Santa Clara and
was the subject of a college yearbook feature after he convinced staff
members that he owned a company which grossed $2.7 million. He told of
playing the stock market in high school, becoming a stockbroker at the
age of 18, an aircraft salesman and president of his own aircraft
The bogus story was picked up by the San Jose
Mercury News, much to the dismay of his family, who kept quiet about
Glee Ewell, a former teacher, was a popular and
very visible civic activist in Fresno. Her public service stints
included involvement in Valley Children's Hospital, the civil service
commission, county grand jury, museums and other charities.
At the time of her death, Ewell was a member of the
Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission. She was appointed to the
State Bar Board of Governors as a public member by Gov. George
Deukmejian in 1985 and reappointed for another three-year term in
The State Bar's first president from Fresno, Don
Fischbach, attributes his interest in the board of governors to Ewell,
who convinced him to run for a seat. Fischbach's wife, Linda, babysat
the Ewell children when she was younger and was devastated by the news
of the family's tragedy.
Even today, five years later, the Fresno community
remembers Glee Ewell and her upbeat personality. Prosecutor
Hammerschmidt never knew her, but he said her name comes up
"I've heard lots of people tell me what a sweet
lady she was," he said.
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.
By Mark Arax - Los Angeles Times
March 22, 1993
FRESNO — Dale and Glee Ewell were not like the
other new rich. They did not announce their wealth with a
10,000-square-foot home on the bluffs of the San Joaquin River.
Dale ran his farms and airplane dealership and Glee
did volunteer work and served on a state commission to evaluate
judicial nominees. They lived with little fanfare, careful to guard
So when their bodies and that of a 24-year-old
daughter, Tiffany, were found inside their ranch house in April, shot
to death in a manner that suggested murder-for-hire, tongues here
Did you know Glee worked for the CIA? Did you know
Dale was smuggling drugs via aircraft from Mexico? Did you know the
Filipino mob, angry over business dealings with the Ewells, mutilated
Investigators quickly scotched the early
speculation. Now, nearly a year after the Easter Sunday killings,
detectives are focusing on the Ewells' only surviving child--Dana, 21,
a college student with high-roller tastes and a fascination for Joe
Hunt and his Billionaire Boys Club.
"To be hit with all these rumors and then to read
in the newspaper that Dana is now a suspect . . . it's been a damn
trauma," said a family friend.
Easter weekend. Glee, 57, and Tiffany, a graduate
student at Cal State Fresno, drove to the family beach house near
Watsonville. Dale, 59, an expert pilot, insisted on flying there
alone--his one fear being that a plane or car crash would kill the
That Saturday, the Ewells entertained son Dana, a
finance major at Santa Clara University, his girlfriend and her
parents. Glee and Tiffany drove back to Fresno early Sunday.
Sheriff's investigators are refusing to reveal
details of the shooting and have not determined whether more than one
gunman was involved. There was no sign of forced entry at the Ewell
house in the upper-middle-class Sunnyside neighborhood. Mother and
daughter may have been confronted before they walked in the door.
Glee was gunned down in the den, Tiffany in the
kitchen. Dale Ewell, a tall beefy man, arrived a short time later
clutching the newspaper. He was shot from behind. It is likely he
never knew the fate of his wife and daughter.
"It was quick and it was clean," said Fresno County
Sheriff's Detective Ernie Burk.
But the investigation has been anything but quick
and clean. Sheriff's detectives spent four days combing the house and
trying to re-enact the slayings, a job made daunting by a killer who
had taken care to pick up each bullet casing.
Detectives quickly discounted Glee's stint in the
CIA in the late 1950s. She had been stationed in Argentina as a
Spanish-language translator for the intelligence agency, a few years
before she met Dale.
Searching court records, detectives learned that
Dale Ewell had sold planes for aircraft dealer Frank Lambe, who in
1971 oversaw a large Mexico-to-Fresno drug smuggling venture. Lambe
was jailed and Ewell took over his dealership. Investigators pursued
the theory that bad blood still existed between Lambe and Ewell. They
also speculated that Ewell might have been involved in the ring and
more recent drug smuggling.
"We've pretty much ruled out any fallout from the
old Lambe ring," said Detective John Souza. "And as far as we can
tell, Ewell's fortune came from hard work and shrewd investments in
farming. He didn't need drug smuggling."
But wealth did not stop Ewell from occasionally
crossing the line to make a quick buck. Court records show he once
lied about the sale price of a plane to pocket an extra $2,500 from
the owners. Court files here are thick with lawsuits involving his
In particular, detectives wonder what role Ewell
may have played in a residential and golf course development headed by
his younger brother Ben. The project, plagued by problems, has
absorbed millions of dollars in overseas cash--much of it raised by
Filipinos once tied to the corrupt Ferdinand Marcos regime.
"If something did go sour between the Filipinos and
the Ewells, why kill Glee and Tiffany?" Souza asks. "It doesn't add
That leaves burglary-gone-bad or a theory involving
Dana Ewell, the sole heir to an $8-million estate.
The day of the murder, Dana was in the Bay Area
with his girlfriend, her mother and her father, who is an FBI agent in
San Jose. The Ewells' housekeeper discovered the bodies two days
later, after Dana called a neighbor in Fresno saying he had been
unable to reach the family by phone.
He contributed half of the $50,000 reward fund and
then, sensing he was a target, hired a criminal attorney. Lawyer
Richard Berman said he and his client are not discussing the case with
reporters. In a letter to sheriff's officials, Berman said Dana
"adamantly denies any participation in this heinous crime."
Investigators are also being tight-lipped, publicly
saying only that the son has not been ruled out as a suspect. And yet
it is clear that Dana Ewell has become the main focus in recent
Detectives traveled to Southern California and Utah
and spent a week at Santa Clara University trying to glean information
about Ewell and a college buddy, Joel P. Radovcich, a San Fernando
Valley native who dropped out of sight after being questioned.
Investigators said they are trying to find Radovcich to question him
Family and friends say they hope that authorities
clear Dana, but even they have been confounded by his behavior in
recent years. They say he grew enamored of Hunt and the Billionaire
Boys Club after watching a TV movie about the young Southern
Californians whose efforts to make a fortune in the commodities market
ended in two murders.
Eighteen months before the Fresno murders, the San
Jose Mercury News printed a front-page feature on Dana Ewell
headlined: "Teen Mogul Tries For Normal College Life." The article
depicted a young tycoon dressed in elegant suits, selling mutual funds
and building a bankrupt airplane dealership into a $4-million
The article and a similar one that appeared in the
1990 Santa Clara University yearbook were near-complete fabrications,
friends and family say. Dana Ewell had credited himself with his
father's lengthy accomplishments, but in truth he had no role in the
"It's like his father didn't exist," said a former