Crime - Sacto 911

Dad pleads guilty after trying to kill kids with mallet and car exhaust, DA says

Charles Lee Ewers
Charles Lee Ewers

The Carmichael dad had drugged and bludgeoned his two children during a custody visit, then told them they were “going to heaven” before trying to suffocate them and take his own life with car exhaust inside their locked garage, Sacramento County prosecutors alleged.

Charles Lee Ewers faces 22 years to life in prison after pleading guilty Monday in Sacramento Superior Court to two counts of attempted murder in the April 4, 2015, incident, according to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. Ewers, 40, also admitted to causing great bodily injury and using a deadly weapon in the attacks.

Ewers had his 8-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter as part of a visitation agreement with their mother. He previously pleaded no contest to a domestic violence charge in 2013.

Ewers had planned for months to kill his children and himself, telling investigators that he was “in control,” and that “if I could try again, I would,” district attorney’s officials said in a statement announcing the plea.

Sentencing is set for June 6 before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Jaime Roman.

Ewers had been scheduled to face trial in the case last week before attorneys agreed to a delay, court records show.

Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies were called to Ewers’ North Avenue home the night of April 4 after the children’s mother told authorities she was concerned that Ewers did not return the children at the assigned time, prosecutors said.

Ewers fed his children Ambien, then bludgeoned them with a mallet when the sleeping drug didn’t quickly take, prosecutors said. After beating the children, he loaded them into the car and turned on the engine.

Deputies arrived to find the lights off at Ewers’ place and hear the sound of a car’s engine running in the garage. They forced their way into the garage where they found hoses attached to the car’s exhaust pipe that snaked into the car’s cabin and Ewers’ bloodied and battered children inside, prosecutors said.

Deputies were able to get the children out of the home and pulled Ewers from the car’s front seat.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith