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Jury finds undocumented immigrant not guilty of murder of Kate Steinle
December 18 2017, 02:52 | Irvin Gilbert
Undocumented immigrant acquitted of Kathryn Steinle's murder
Jurors did find him guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm, which Public Defender Jeff Adachi said carries a potential sentence of 16 months to three years.
The bullet's trajectory, which ricocheted off the pier's surface before hitting Steinle in the lower back, appears to support the claim that Garcia Zarate was not pointing the gun at her directly when it was sacked.
Garcia Zarate has prior convictions for a drug charge and for re-entering the country after deportation. The weapon Steinle was killed with on July 1, 2015 turned out to be a.40-caliber Sig Sauer handgun, which had been stolen from the vehicle of a Bureau of Land Management agent. San Francisco Deputy District Attorney Diana Garcia derided as implausible the defense argument that he accidentally shot a weapon he didn't know was a firearm.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, arrested in connection with the July 1, 2015, shooting of Kate Steinle on a pier in San Francisco is led into the Hall of Justice for his arraignment in San Francisco, California, U.S. on July 7, 2015.
The jury was handed the case November 21 after the defense wrapped up closing arguments.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was acquitted of the murder charge following the 2015 shooting, according to the San Fransisco Chronicle.
But the politics of immigration were not allowed to come up in the monthlong trial.
Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez said in his closing remarks that he knows it's hard to believe Garcia Zarate found an object that turned out to be a weapon that fired when he picked it up. The timing and specifics of Steinle's tragic death catapulted the case into the national spotlight as a cause célèbre for then-candidate Donald Trump, who seized upon the death of "beautiful Kate", as he referred to her on the stump. And even the prosecution agreed that there was no evidence linking Garcia Zarate to that robbery.
The six-man, six-woman jury reached the verdict on the sixth day of deliberations following a four-week trial.
The defendant had been freed from jail shortly before the shooting despite a federal request to hold him for deportation.
President Donald Trump said during the campaign that Steinle's death was another reason the United States needed to build a wall on its southern border and tighten its immigration policies. "I urge the leaders of the nation's communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers". San Francisco still won't honor a federal detainer request unless the detainee has committed a violent or serious felony in the past seven years.