Kate Steinle death: Garcia Zarate acquitted of homicide

Kate Steinle death: Garcia Zarate acquitted of homicide

Kate Steinle death: Garcia Zarate acquitted of homicide

Steinle's 2015 death put San Francisco and its "sanctuary city" policy in the spotlight, as city officials got blowback for refusing to cooperate with federal deportation efforts.

Sessions says San Francisco's "decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death" of Kate Steinle.

President Donald Trump cited the case during his campaign in a bid to show the country needed tougher immigration policies.

According to the Associated Press, a Mexican man, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, has been found not guilty of murder in the fatal shooting of a woman, Kate Steinle, on a San Francisco pier.

Zarate had claimed he found the gun used in the shooting wrapped in a T-shirt under a bench and that it went off accidentally.

The gun was stolen four days before the killing from the parked vehicle of a visiting Bureau of Land Management ranger.

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. Zarate's defense attorneys, Matt Gonzalez and Francisco Ugarte were both quick to connect the verdict to President Trump.

President Trump later signed an executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with USA immigration authorities, a policy that a federal judge in San Francisco permanently blocked Monday.

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The jury reached a verdict in six days and convicted Garcia Zarate of possessing a firearm but found him not guilty of assault with a firearm.

San Francisco prosecutors dropped the charge and then the sheriff's department let him go, despite a federal detainer request. Before the killing, he had been released from a San Francisco jail after a minor drug charge was dismissed.

Steinle's father, James Steinle, who was with her when she was shot, took the stand for the prosecution back in late October, and in emotional testimony, described not understanding what had happened to his daughter initially. Under local sanctuary city rules, local law enforcement won't hold a person beyond the term of their incarceration.

But he told jurors that Garcia Zarate had no motivation to kill Steinle and as bad as her death was, "nothing you do is going to fix that".

Trump signed an executive order to withhold funding from sanctuary cities, but a federal judge recently blocked it in a lawsuit from two California counties, San Francisco and Santa Clara.

He had been deported from the United States five times prior to Steinle's death.

Before the shooting, Garcia Zarate had finished a federal prison sentence for illegal re-entry into the United States and was transferred in March 2015 to San Francisco's jail to face a 20-year-old charge for selling marijuana.

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