Thursday 30 March 2023

Fourth Murder Trial Ordered For Ann Patton

Ann Patton prior to her third trial where she was found not guilty: 'It is my opportunity to finally, hopefully, get true justice'

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30 March 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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Ann Patton stands before hearing the verdict at the third trial in her late husband’s death. (JUAN CARLOS ULATE/REUTERS)

If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try, try and try again. Literally.

That seems to be the position of the Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalia) in Perez Zeledon, San Jose, in the case of Ann Maxine Patton who has been ordered to her fourth trial in the 2010 death of husband, John Bender.

You would think that the three murder trials and without a firm conviction would be enough for the Fiscalia.

Ann Patton in January 2013, at her first trial. Photo Luis Navarro, La Nacion
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Patton was acquitted in the first trial in 2013. However, an appellate court ordered a retrial.

In May 2014, Patton was found guilty and sentenced to 22 years in prison.

After serving nine months in the El Buen Pastor women’s prison in Desamparados, a Cartago appellate court overturned the guilty verdict and ordered a new trial.

In the trial that began in August 2015, the Perez Zeledon court found Patton not guilty.

However, the Fiscalia, not been content with the verdict appealed the case, convinced that Patton is the only one who could be responsible for Bender’s death.

John and Ann. Photo from Change.org

On June 23 of this year, Tribunal de Apelación de Sentencia Penal de Cartago set aside the September 7, 2015, not guilty verdict and a fourth trial was ordered, which is allowed under Costa Rica law.

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Among the reasons given by the Cartago court are that there was “an inadequate analysis of the evidence gathered”.

No trial date has been set yet.

However, this fourth trial may not be a ‘walk in the park’ for the Fiscalia, as they have to successfully bring Ann Patton back from the United States, who was able to leave Costa Rica following her acquittal last September.

Patton has always maintained that her husband, who died of a gunshot wound, committed suicide. Bender died January 8, 2010, in the family bedroom.

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According to the police report, she was the only one present and testified at trial(s) she tried to stop his suicide. Patton has always maintained that her husband suffered from bipolar disorder.

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