More difficult news happened last week for Ann Maxine Patton, who was convicted last May in Costa Rica of killing her husband, U.S. financier John Felix Bender in 2010 in a case that has drawn ongoing international scrutiny, the latest of which is from the CBS program “48 Hours.”
Last Wednesday, Patton’s boyfriend, 40-year-old New York State native Greg Fischer, was found dead in his Escazú apartment southwest of San José, from an apparent heart attack or asthma attack, his brother Brian stated in a Facebook post.
A spokeswoman for the Judicial Investigation Police confirmed the death to The Tico Times and said no foul play is suspected.
A memorial service is scheduled for Dec. 6 at the Claude R. Boyd/Spencer Funeral Home in West Islip, New York, Brian Fischer posted on Facebook.
In recent months, Greg Fischer had joined Patton’s friends and family members in a campaign to draw attention to her case, which has been featured on CNN, CBS and several other international news outlets. A court previously had exonerated Patton of the charges of shooting to death her husband John in 2010 in the bedroom of their extravagant jungle estate in southern Costa Rica. Patton always has maintained the death was a suicide.
Yet after an appeal by prosecutors, a second trial was ordered, and last May a different court found Patton guilty of murder and sentenced her to 22 years in prison. Friends, family members and supporters are fighting for her release, citing several inconsistencies in the evidence presented by prosecutors, and what they say is enough reasonable doubt to have the case tossed.
According to the Costa Rican Prosecutor’s Office, Patton currently is held at the Buen Pastor women’s prison in San José, where she awaits a hearing on an appeal of the conviction.