Accused murderer who turned himself in in South Bend is competent for trial

(Photo supplied/Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A man charged in connection with two slayings in Michigan is awaiting a key court hearing after being found competent for trial.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports judges in Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties last month made rulings on competency after 32-year-old Zachary Patten of Portage underwent a psychiatric evaluation.

He waived a key hearing in St. Joseph County to determine whether the case should go to trial and faces an Oct. 11 hearing on the same issue in Kalamazoo.

Authorities say Patten fatally shot Graciela Portillo-Esparza on July 20 in Kalamazoo before killing Shane Richardson — the husband of Patten’s ex-wife — in St. Joseph County. Patten was arrested July 21 after he approached officers in South Bend and told them he “needed to be arrested.”

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