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Man gets life without parole for 1 of the 2 SW Michigan slaughter

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.

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