Schoolcraft couple murder trial begins

The murder trial in which a Saginaw man is charged with the deaths of an elderly Schoolcraft couple started Thursday in Kalamazoo County.

The defendant, Ezra Phillips, 28, is facing two counts of second-degree murder and operating while intoxicated causing death. He is accused of driving an SUV that hit a Chevrolet Impala mid-afternoon May 7, 2021, at the intersection of southbound U.S. 131 and West XY Avenue.

Both occupants of the vehicle struck by Phillips’ SUV – Joel Shaffer, 83, and his 84-year-old wife, Dolores Shaffer – died at the scene.

Authorities also said he was driving in excess of 100 miles per hour on southbound U.S. 131. Detectives said Phillips had a blood-alcohol level of 0.14 percent.

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