Undocumented immigrant not guilty of murder in polarizing San Francisco case

Lucy Bush
December 1, 2017

A San Francisco jury found the illegal immigrant accused of killing Kate Steinle not guilty of murder Thursday, a stunning result in a case that ignited a nationwide debate over illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.

The basic question the jury had to decide was whether Garcia Zarate intentionally and willfully fired the single shot that killed Kate Steinle.

Steinle was walking with her father and a family friend on a sunny day in July 2015 when she was shot, collapsing into her father's arms. He has repeatedly warned about violent Latino gangs flourishing in sanctuary cities, and used the crime as part of his efforts to justify a crackdown on undocumented immigrants and win support for a wall he wants built along the USA boarder with Mexico. San Francisco's "sanctuary city" law limits cooperation with US immigration authorities.

US immigration officials said they will deport Garcia Zarate, who had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when Steinle was fatally shot in the back while walking with her father. "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".

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The defense insisted, as per the Chronicle, that Garcia-Zarate, "who had a history of drug crimes but no record of violence, found the gun wrapped in a T-shirt or cloth under his seat on the pier just seconds before it discharged in his hands".

Garcia Zarate's lawyer, Matt Gonzalez, had argued that the defendant wasn't criminally responsible because he found the.40-caliber Sig Sauer and wasn't aware it was a gun when it accidentally went off.

Gonzalez said in his closing argument that he knows it's hard to believe Garcia Zarate found an object that turned out to be a weapon, which fired when he picked it up.

He was homeless at the time of the shooting and had multiple felony convictions on his record as well as five prior deportations to Mexico.

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President Trump weighed in on the acquittal in the Kate Steinle murder case.

"San Francisco's decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle", he said in a statement.

The bullet ricocheted on the pier's concrete walkway and fatally struck Steinle in the back.

Prosecutors said he meant to shoot and kill her. So that is something that sanctuary cities including San Francisco have always said they would comply with. "I have met with numerous great parents who lost their children to sanctuary cities and open borders". Before the shooting, officials in San Francisco had released Garcia Zarate from custody instead of turning him over to immigration authorities.

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A call to a court-appointed attorney representing Black in the Smith County charges was also not immediately returned Friday. He left the scene of the shooting in a gray Chevrolet Malibu with the license plate number JDN4273.

Trump also mentioned Steinle in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention after winning the Republican presidential nomination.

Other reports by Info About Network

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