Wait to confirm that he’s alone, he may have been able to get away with murder. Turn off your cell phone.
This note was made on a piece of balled up paper and was found on top of the trash heap at the house of a suspect killer. Detectives were in disbelief. The key evidence they required to convict the prime suspect in murder was this unburied treasure.
In February 2018, 25-year-old Patrick De La Cerda was shot four times in an ambush-style assault by an assassin. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Detective Chad Weaver, who examined the case, said that the assassin was “lying in waiting.” “
Detective Weaver thinks De La Cerda was shot to death when he arrived at his front door to get a package with an engagement ring.
“You could see the front door was open, there was glass all over the place,” Weaver told “48 Hours” correspondent Peter Van Sant in an interview for “The Ring: The Murder of Patrick De La Cerda. “ The detective initially thought that “this was probably going to turn out to be a whodunit.” “
The case changed quickly when Devnani pointed investigators to the man she believed was responsible for De La Cerda’s murder: her jealous ex-boyfriend, Gregory Bender.
Weaver was told by Devnani that Bender, who had threatened Patrick with voicemails and sent text messages for several months, had been torturing her and Patrick. Devnani, fearful, had presented these threats to a Judge, who issued an order of restraining against Bender. His extensive firearm collection was to be turned over. She said that his threats and messages had stopped for a while.
Until the morning of February 27, 2018, when Devnani received her first phone call from Bender in months. Although she didn’t answer the phone, it was obvious that something wasn’t right. De La Cerda was not available for comment so she ran to her house. However, when she got there, De La Cerda had already shot her and was lying on the ground.
Weaver thought he was a suspect. However, there wasn’t enough evidence on the crime scene for Gregory Bender to be arrested. It was a tip from Bender’s ex-wife, Daymara Sanchez, that gave Weaver what he needed to build a case against him.
Sanchez was the one Weaver found out was still married during his time with Devnani. He asked for a meeting in a quiet parking lot. Weaver said that she was anxious. There was more evidence to support Gregory Bender’s murder.
Sanchez said that she saw a report about Patrick’s death and it seemed very similar to notes she found in Bender’s spiral notebook. When she questioned Bender over his notebook, Sanchez told Weaver that he assured her the disturbing notes weren’t his “fantasy”. This “fantasy,” Sanchez recalled, sounded very much like De La Cerda’s murder.
Weaver claims that Sanchez’s tip provided probable cause for police to search Bender’s home. Weaver said that once she had told them about the murder plot, it gave police probable cause to search Bender’s house. However, he doubted the possibility of a killer keeping this piece of evidence.
On February 28, 2018, Weaver and his team of investigators entered Bender’s home in Windemere, Florida, to execute their search warrant. Weaver spotted what appeared to be a dream almost immediately after entering Bender’s five-bedroom home. Weaver found the pages Sanchez described in his notebooks, and he took them to the suspect’s office.
” I was shocked,” Weaver said. Weaver said, “There is no way we could have just discovered this murder plot.”
The details of Patrick De La Cerda’s elaborate plan to murder Patrick De La Cerda were revealed on some crumpled up pieces of paper that was found at the bottom of Bender’s trash can.
” The first thing that I did was grab the trash bin and start reading the entire thing,” Weaver stated. However, he understood the importance of having this bagged to provide crucial evidence.
The notes were complete with De La Cerda’s address, sketches of his property, and notes on how to enter and exit the premises without being detected.
The notes stated that “… clothes, plates, tracker and gloves were to be disposed of. Although Bender seemed to have accounted for almost all the evidence in the case, he neglected to dispose off the notes.
Bender also found ammunition and a shell case that matched the ones found at crime scene. These pieces of junk were valuable, and both Sanchez’s and Devnani’s testimony, as well as cell evidence and the discovery that ammunition, helped convince the jury Bender was not just a fantasy.
On May 28, 2021, Gregory Bender was found guilty of first-degree murder. Bender’s lawyers claim that the search of his house was unlawful and intend to appeal, but Bender is currently in prison for a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
The fate of this murderer was decided by the lies of the women that he deceived and justice for his jealousy. He also neglected to dispose of his trash.
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