Windermere man charged with first-degree murder of Deltona man

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Gregory Bender, 50, of Windermere, is charged with first-degree murder.   PHOTO COURTESY ORANGE COUNTY JAIL & INMATE SERVICES

Gregory Bender, 50, of Windermere, is charged with first-degree murder.

PHOTO COURTESY ORANGE COUNTY JAIL & INMATE SERVICES

Volusia County sheriff's deputies arrested a 50-year-old Windermere man in the Feb. 27 shooting death of a 25-year-old Deltona man.

Gregory Bender was already in the Orange County Jail on unrelated charges when deputies charged him with first-degree murder March 1 in the killing of Patrick de la Cerda at his home on Howland Boulevard.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Andrew Gant said detectives responded to the home around 11:35 a.m. Tuesday after De La Cerda was found shot to death on the floor of his home.

“The investigation quickly led to Bender, who was reportedly jealous of De La Cerda and the woman he was dating,” Gant said in a news release.

Bender had threatened both of them in the past. De La Cerda’s girlfriend was granted

an injunction for protection against Bender in December 2017.

De La Cerda was not granted an injunction, but had set up security measures around the property including a gate and surveillance cameras.

“De La Cerda’s girlfriend told detectives she received phone calls from Bender while she was at work Tuesday morning. She didn’t answer, but became concerned, and tried to call De La Cerda, who didn’t answer,” Gant said. “She left work to check on him. When she got to his home, he’d already been shot and killed.”

De La Cerda's father also received a suspicious phone call early Tuesday from an unknown number who said he was outside the home's gate and had a package to deliver to De La Cerda.

The father tried to contact him to let him know, but did not hear back. The father said he believes the male caller on Tuesday was Bender.

“Detectives also interviewed a woman who reported she found a blue spiral notebook in Gregory’s Windermere home which contained a detailed plan to kill De La Cerda,” Gant said. “The plan mentioned using a package delivery and opening the gate.”

Detectives later executed a search warrant at the home, and found the plan, along with ammunition that matched the ammunition found at the scene of the homicide. There were also several firearms located throughout the house.

Windermere man charged with first-degree murder of Deltona man
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