Prelim delayed for St. Joseph County murder suspect


CENTREVILLE – The preliminary hearing for a man charged with murder in St. Joseph County is on hold.

St. Joseph County District Court officials say that following a pre-trial conference Tuesday, 32 year old Zachary Patten of Portage was ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination. His August 15 preliminary hearing was postponed.

Patten is charged with allegedly shooting 31 year old Graciela Portillo-Esparza, who lived in the Americana Estates Mobile Home Park in Kalamazoo. Authorities say she was shot and killed around 9:30 PM on July 20 when she got between her brother and Patten, who were arguing.

Patten then drove to his ex-wife's house on Featherstone Road. He allegedly forced his way into the home and confronted 29 year old Shane Richardson, who was married to Patten's ex-wife. Patten then allegedly shot Richardson in the neck. Richardson was taken to Three Rivers Health where he died.

Patten faces charges of felony murder, open murder, first degree home invasion and felony firearms in St. Joseph County.

Charges in Kalamazoo County include open murder, carrying a concealed weapon and felony firearms.

He is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in Kalamazoo County District Court August 16. Kalamazoo officials did not say if that hearing would happen or not, due to the evaluation Patten was ordered to have.

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