Scoop: 48 HOURS on CBS - Tonight, July 25, 2015
Did Wall Street millionaire John Bender shoot himself, or was he murdered in his 50,000-square-foot home in Costa Rica? His wife, Ann Bender, was tried twice and convicted once of killing him, but she then won an appeal. Now she's facing a third trial.
CLICK HERE FOR A PREVIEWSusan Spencer and 48 HOURS investigate what happened to Bender in his rainforest mansion, in an updated encore of "Paradise Lost" to be broadcast tonight, July 25 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Bender was found dead in the bedroom with his wife next to him. They had moved to Central America to live a dream, and spent part of his $100 million fortune creating a nature sanctuary there, including a home without walls. The dream turned into a nightmare on Jan. 8, 2010, when Bender died from a bullet wound to the back of his head. Ann Bender said her husband was trying to kill himself. "I saw the outline of the gun...and he had it pointed at his head," Ann Bender told 48 HOURS. "He was going to die that night, no matter what." Prosecutors in Costa Rica maintained it was murder. Ann Bender went on trial for murder but was acquitted. She remained in Costa Rica. Unlike the system in the United States, the judicial system in Costa Rica allows people to be tried more than once for the same crime. Prosecutors charged Bender again with murder, and in May 2014 she was convicted. Bender won an appeal in that case, and will be tried for a third time in August. But did she do it? 48 HOURS brought in an independent forensic team, Richard and Selma Eikelenboom, to the house where John Bender died. After examining the evidence, THE EXPERTS said there were problems with the conclusion by the prosecution. "48 HOURS: Paradise Lost" tells the story of a married couple that seemingly had it all. They shared a love of nature, but they also shared a common struggle with severe depression. John Bender's search for a safe HAVEN and purpose for his life didn't turn out as expected, despite efforts to improve the area around him. As a couple they became very isolated, in spite of what they did for the community. They were not entirely welcome by the locals. Likewise, there are allegations that the trustee of the Bender's $100 million fortune siphoned money from the trust, adding another element to the investigation. Did Ann kill John, was it an accident, or was it suicide? "I tried to stop him," Ann Bender said, "and I've been accused of killing him." 48 HOURS: "Paradise Lost" is produced by Josh Yager, Doug Longhini, Ana Real, Shoshanah Wolfson and Tamara Weitzman. Richard Barber, Gary Winter and Marcus Balsam are the editors. Suzanne Allen is the senior coordinating producer. Linda Martin is the update producer. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer. Follow 48 HOURS on Twitter and Facebook, Instagram and CBSNews.com. Listen to 48HOURS podcasts at Play.it.