Trial for Kzoo Co. double murder suspect begins

Zachary Patten appears in Kalamazoo County District Court in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Jan. 7. 2018.


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The man accused of murdering two people in southwest Michigan last summer was in a Kalamazoo courtroom Wednesday for his first of two homicide trials.

Zachery Patten, 32, is accused of shooting and killing two people in one night in two counties. On Wednesday, prosecutors began to present their case against him in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court.

During opening statements, the prosecution and the defense each explained their version of what happened that night to the jury.

“The defendant raises his arm, gun in hand, and fires,” the prosecutor told the jury. “Graciela Portillo-Esparza falls to the ground.”

But Patten’s defense attorney disagreed.

“Of course, you know by now that Mr. Patten doesn’t have to prove a thing,” countered Mr. Patten’s defense attorney. “And remember there’s always more than one side to a particular story.”

Patten is accused of killing 31-year-old Portillo-Esparza at a mobile home park on July 20.

After the Kalamazoo shooting, prosecutors say Patten drove to his ex-wife’s home south of Three Rivers, where he shot and killed her husband, Shane Richardson.

The defense denies these allegations.

This is the first murder trial Patten is facing. After this, he still has to face murder charges in St. Joseph County.