In 2016 Jessica Devnani was courting Gregory Bender, a profitable hedge fund supervisor, who lived close to Orlando, Florida. What Devnani did not know on the time was that Bender had been holding a secret from her. The key can be uncovered whereas he was recovering from a medical process at an area hospital. What occurred in that room would result in occasions that might ceaselessly change lives.
Devnani had met Bender on-line in 2009. He was 42 years previous and Devnani was almost 20 years his junior. “He had a really charismatic character. He was very clever,” Devnani mentioned. “It felt like we would recognized one another all our lives … he grew to become my finest good friend.”
As their romance developed, Devnani says she seen Bender had a streak of jealousy in him and generally it could escalate to verbal threats. “I by no means feared what he might do to me, however I feared what he might do to different males,” she mentioned. Regardless of his flaws, she remained with him and ultimately they received engaged. Devnani tells her story solely to “48 Hours,” inreported by correspondent Peter Van Sant.
Just a few years after their engagement, Devnani was confronted with a stunning twist of their relationship. Bender had undergone a process and, whereas he was recuperating within the ICU, Devnani determined to drop by for a shock go to. When she entered his room, one other girl was there. That girl was Daymara Sanchez, his spouse on the time. “I used to be like, ‘what’s she doing right here?’ and he or she’s like, ‘What are you doing right here? And I informed her I am like his fiancée and I confirmed her the ring. After which she confirmed me her ring. She’s like, ‘I am his spouse!'” Devnani recalled.
Devnani says she was devastated by the information. “My coronary heart simply dropped. I could not consider it. I used to be in shock,” she mentioned.
A number of days handed earlier than Bender lastly contacted Devnani to clarify the scenario. He informed her it was strictly a wedding of comfort so he might assist the lady’s son attend a greater faculty district. Devnani says she took him again, however she issued an ultimatum – he needed to divorce his spouse.
Nevertheless, for months, Bender stalled and Devnani says she ultimately dumped him. A month later, in June 2017, she met 25-year-old Patrick De La Cerda on a courting app. “I used to be afraid that he would discover out about our relationship.” Devnani mentioned.
Devnani says Bender realized about her new relationship with De La Cerda from Fb. She mentioned that is when Bender began messaging De La Cerda and threatening him. Inside months, Devnani says Bender would depart alarming messages to them each. In a single voicemail for Devnani, Bender mentioned, “I am giving directions. And I will have my plan put into motion.”
Ultimately each Devnani and De La Cerda had sufficient, and Devnani requested a decide for a restraining order in opposition to Bender. The order, issued in December 2017, acknowledged Bender couldn’t contact Devnani, and he needed to hand over his firearms.
The couple have been now enthusiastic about their future with out the looming risk of Bender, says Devnani. By the tip of 2017, De La Cerda proposed to Devnani. De La Cerda offered Devnani with a brief engagement ring, whereas he waited for the supply of a hoop he had designed.
However the day De La Cerda would give Devnani that ring by no means got here. On February 27, 2018, Jessica acquired two sudden calls from Bender. Fearing for De La Cerda’s security, she tried to achieve him, however he did not reply his cellphone. That is when she rushed over to De La Cerda’s house, and located him useless in a pool of blood.
Quickly after sheriff’s deputies arrived, Devnani informed them about Bender. One other break within the case got here when a detective received a tip from one other girl in Bender’s life: Bender’s now ex-wife, Daymara Sanchez, the lady Devnani says she met visiting Bender on the hospital years earlier.
Daymara, who had watched information stories about De La Cerda’s homicide, informed investigators a couple of “homicide plan” she had discovered which she says Bender wrote laying out a plot to kill De La Cerda. “As soon as she informed us in regards to the homicide plan, that gave us what we wanted to get into the home to see, you already know, what else was in there,” lead detective Chad Weaver of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Workplace mentioned.
As soon as there, investigators have been surprised to discover a, much like the one Sanchez described, crumpled up within the trash can in Bender’s house workplace. In addition they discovered ammunition and a shell casing much like the rounds discovered on the crime scene. Weaver mentioned these discoveries gave them sufficient possible trigger to get an arrest warrant for Bender for De La Cerda’s homicide.
When Bender’s trial started in Might 2021, Devnani and Sanchez, the 2 girls who at one time have been on the middle of his life, would as soon as once more come head to head, however this time to testify in opposition to him.