KALAMAZOO, Mich. – A man accused of killing two people in two counties in southwestern Michigan has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the crimes.
A Kalamazoo County judge sentenced 33-year-old Zachary Patten on Monday after he was convicted last month of first-degree murder of Graciela Portillo-Esparza, in July of last year.
The mother of four was fatally shot after stepping between her brother and Patten, who are arguing.
A detective testified Patten admitted shooting Portillo-Esparza, but said that the goal was for her brother, Oscar Portillo, the ex-friend of Patten’s girlfriend.
Patten is also charged with the murder in St. Joseph County. The police says he drove about 30 miles after the killing of the Portillo-Esparza and shot his ex-wife and husband. A trial date for that case has not yet been set.