Double Murder Suspect Found Competent For Trial
A man who police say committed two murders in two southwest Michigan counties in one night has been deemed competent to stand trial.
MLive reports Tuesday that 32-year-old Zachary Patten of Portage waived his preliminary examination in St. Joseph County in September, and was bound over for trial, after he was found competent by a judge. He has a preliminary examination coming up next week in Kalamazoo County Court.
Police say that on the night of July 20, Patten went to the Americana Estates Mobile Home Park in Kalamazoo and fatally shot Graciela Portillo-Esparza; a family member says he intended to shoot a different person he had been arguing with, but Portillo-Esparza stood in the way of the shot.
Patten then allegedly drove to St. Joseph County’s Florence township, and shot and killed Shane Richardson at his home after a struggle; Richardson was married to Patten’s ex-wife. He was taken into custody early the next day, after walking up to police in South Bend, Indiana and saying he needed to be arrested.
Patten faces open murder and weapons charges, along with a charge of first-degree home invasion in St. Joseph County.