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Forensic doctor rules out suicide in Bender case

Anne Maxin Patton trial

Photo: Luis Navarro

Editor’s note: This story is continuing coverage of the murder trial of Anne Maxin Patton.  If you are unfamiliar with the case, you may want to read this story first. 

January 17th, 2013 ( The defense of U.S. citizen, Anne Maxin Patton, on trial since Monday on charges of murdering her huband, John Felix Bender, received a serious blow as a forensic doctor “ruled out,” the chance that her husband committed suicide.  Bender died from a gunshot wound to the head.


In her initial testimony on Monday, Patton stated that she did not murder her husband, but rather that Bender had the gun to his own head, intending to take his life, and while attempting to take the gun from her husband, it fired, killing him.


The forensic doctor, Greichel Flores Sandi provided her statement to the court via videoconference from her office in San Joaquin de Flores, Heredia.  The doctor said that because of the trajectory of the bullet, it was impossible that Bender shot himself.  The bullet that killed Bender entered the right side of his head, though Bender was left-handed.


“He had a gunshot wound in the right occipital region, that wound was six centimeters away (towards the right) from the middle line of the neck. We considered the possibility of access (with the left hand) that the victim had of holding the gun and shooting, in addition to the trajectory of the bullet,” said Flores.


However, when asked by the defense attorney, Fabio Oconitrillo, about the possibility of Bender shooting having shot the gun with his right hand, the doctor stated that she based her investigation on the fact that he was left-handed.


Patton said on Monday that she has had a neurologic illness for many years that does not permit her to manipulate firearms, among other disabilities.


However, doctor Flores stated yesterday that she performed a physical exam on Patton while she was hospitalized in CIMA Hospital on February 4th, 2012, almost a month after Bender’s death, and that Patton had no difficulty whatsoever in moving her hands and limbs.


“According to the physical exam that I performed, she had no functional deficit, she was able to move her upper limbs with no problem,” she said.


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  • Kelley Archer

    Ann Bender was railroaded. No double jeopardy in Costa Rica so you can be tried as many times as it takes till they get a guilty verdict and your assets. Witnesses completely changed their story conveniently in 2nd trial. John and Ann’s $70mn trust managed by a nefarious lawyer named Juan de Dios Alvarez stole 20 million, also all of the trust’s liquid assets – approximately $40mn – have disappeared. In addition, property titles to trust assets have been transferred to companies outside the trust umbrella. Costa Rican government appointed an interim trust manager named Mario Gomez who has not provided any management of the estate nor paid any of the reserve employees or disbursed any money to Ann to cover her legal or medical fees. Go figure…if you plan on retiring outside the U.S. this is what you can expect when living in a foreign country with a corrupt legal system.

    In an unrelated separate case, the couple was
    accused of smuggling rare gems. Officials carried suitcases full of diamonds,rubies, emeralds, and sapphires out of their home. The gems were worth $8.5million. No doubt that will disappear into some government officials coffers too!