San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Ann Patton

Costa Rica appeals court overturns murder conviction of US expat Ann Patton, orders her release

Ann Patton, a U.S. citizen found guilty of killing her husband, U.S. financier John Felix Bender, in Costa Rica in 2010, was released from prison Thursday at 10 a.m. after an appellate judge overturned her 22-year sentence, a family friend confirmed to The Tico Times. Patton was serving preventive detention while judges reviewed the May 2014 conviction.

The appellate judge ordered what will be Patton’s third trial in the shooting death of her 44-year-old husband, which occurred at the couple’s luxury jungle estate in Florida de Barú, Pérez Zeledón, in southern Costa Rica. A different court had acquitted Patton in 2013, but an appeals court ordered a new trial that started on May 19, 2014.

Patton has been ordered to hand over her passport to authorities and is prohibited from leaving the country as the third trial is prepared. She must also report weekly to the the judicial office closest to her home, according to a statement from the Prosecutor’s Office.

The story is developing. Follow for updates. 

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Dan Gibson

The only reason she was convicted in the first place — the judges — attorneys — etc etc etc — had confiscated most of the property and belongings — now — with her ”release” — someone is going to have to ”come up with the goods” — this should make for a pretty interesting discussion over the next couple of months — ”or years” in Costa Rican time!!!

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Tanya Spitznagel

As an american who lived in CostaRica for over 15 years, I am familiar with their courts and justice system. My advice to Ann is to leave the country any way possible and do not look back. She will never recover what has been stolen by the government, judges and lawyers, it is gone for good, and I highly doubt the next trial will be in her favor either. She has this opportunity to be free, she should run with it.
My elderly father was robbed of all his life savings and belongings while living in Costa Rica. Their OIJ and justice system is based on “dinero justice”, the one with the dinero gets the justice. It is a shame, because Costa Rica has so many good qualities and wonderful people, however the corruption makes me want to never go back.

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