On the morning of February 27, 2018, 25-year-old Patrick De La Cerda was gunned down at his own house in Florida. Investigators had no clue as to who might have killed him initially, but a tip from an expected source put everything in place.
The upcoming episode of CBS' true-crime documentary series 48 Hours will reveal the chilling details surrounding Cerda's murder. Titled The Ring: The Murder of Patrick De La Cerda, the episode will air on CBS on Saturday, July 9, 2022, at 10/9c.
Here are five facts you need to know about the murder ahead of the premiere.
A meticulous plan was chalked out to kill Patrick De La Cerda, and 4 other chilling facts about the murder
1) Cerda was expecting a package when he was gunned down
Patrick De La Cerda was expecting a package containing the engagement ring for his girlfriend Jessica Devnani when he was ambushed and gunned down.
Patrick's father, Max De La Cerda, received a call on the morning of February 27, 2018, about a package that was to be delivered to his son's residence. Max relayed the information to Patrick who had been waiting for the engagement ring to arrive any day. That was reportedly the last time anyone spoke to Patrick.
The same morning, Jessica received a call from her former boyfriend Gregory Bender. She immediately guessed something was wrong and decided to check on her fiancé, Patrick De La Cerda. When she reached, De La Cerda was already shot dead and lying in pool of blood.
Investigators believe that De La Cerda was gunned down when he came out to receive the package, expecting it to be the engagement ring.
2) Gregory Bender had been leaving threatening messages
When Jessica Devnani informed the investigators that her former boyfriend Gregory Bender had been tormenting Patrick and her with threatening messages for a long time, investigators quickly turned their attention to him.
Jessica also stated that they had issued a restraining order against Bender, who had been ordered to turn over his gun collection. The threatening messages stopped for a while after that.
While there was already an idea forming as to the identity of Patrick De La Cerda's murderer, police weren't being able to connect Bender to the murder.
3) Murder plan recovered from Bender's dustbin
Gregory Bender's former wife Daymara Sanchez threw some light on the case by offering a tip. Sanchez told investigators that the news reports she read about De La Cerda's murder matched some notes that Bender put down in his spiral notebook. Upon being asked about the notes, Bender described them as mere "fantasies." Sanchez's tip was enough to issue a search warrant for Bender's house.
Investigators were quick to locate some crumbled pieces of paper torn out of a notebook thrown into the dustbin. These notes allegedly detailed a plan to murder De La Cerda. The notes indicated that he wanted to dispose of "clothes, plate, tracker, gloves," which appeared to be a plan to get rid of all the murder evidence. Investigators also found ammunition and a shell casing in the house.
4) Bender was found guilty
Despite defense attorney Richard Parker arguing in court that some plans scribbled down in the notebook cannot be counted as solid evidence against Bender, the judge convicted Bender for first-degree murder. Bender was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
Well-wishers rejoiced at the decision but were also angry due to the failure of the system. De La Cerda's life could not be saved despite a restraining order being issued against Bender earlier.
5) Bender had been two-timing Devnani and Sanchez
Devnani's eight-year relationship with Bender came to an end when she found out about his wife Daymara Sanchez.
One day, Devnani went to the hospital to meet her boyfriend Bender as he was recovering from a medical procedure. At the hospital, she met another woman who revealed that she was Bender's wife. Devnani did not think twice before terminating her relationship with Bender, but he continued pursuing her so she ended up giving him a second chance.
Watch the events surrounding Patrick De La Cerda's heartbreaking murder unfold on your screen tonight on CBS' 48 Hours. The episode is set to air on CBS on Saturday, July 9, 2022, at 10/9c.