Published: Fri, December 01, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Undocumented immigrant not guilty of murder in polarizing San Francisco case

Undocumented immigrant not guilty of murder in polarizing San Francisco case

A San Francisco jury, on Thursday, found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a homeless undocumented immigrant, not guilty for the 2015 shooting death of 32-year-old Kate Steinle.

According to the Chronicle, the San Francisco Superior Court jury found Zarate not guilty of assault with a firearm, and convicted him of being a felon in possession of a gun.

"For Donald Trump, we were just what he needed-beautiful girl, San Francisco, illegal immigrant, arrested a million times, a violent crime and yadda, yadda, yadda", Steinle's mother, Liz Sullivan, told the San Francisco Chronicle months after her daughter's death. Proceedings lasted about one month. [The] Assistant District Attorney [-] spent much of the trial seeking to prove the gun that killed Steinle couldn't have fired without a firm pull of the trigger, while establishing that Garcia Zarate tossed the weapon into the bay before fleeing the scene - an implication of his guilt, she said.

Garcia Zarate, who also used the name Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, had been deported five times before the deadly encounter.

Gonzalez said Garcia Zarate found the semi-automatic handgun wrapped in a shirt under a chair on the pier - and it went off by accident when he picked it up.

The defense case all along has been that Zarate did not aim or fire the gun intentionally but that it went off and ricocheted off the ground before accidentally hitting Steinle.

But he told jurors that Garcia Zarate had no motivation to kill Steinle and as very bad as her death was, "nothing you do is going to fix that". Evans was the only witness called to the stand who said that Garcia Zarate aimed the gun in her direction and actively pulled the trigger.

That charge was dismissed by San Francisco prosecutors after he arrived.

The sheriff's department released him a few days later after the district attorney dropped the marijuana charge, despite a USA request to detain him for deportation.

Under a sanctuary city law, the San Francisco sheriff's department had released Garcia Zarate from jail despite a federal immigration request to detain him for deportation.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was acquitted in a case that galvanized anti-immigration forces and forced San Francisco officials to defend their "sanctuary city" policy.

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.

In this July 17, 2015 photo, flowers and a portrait of Kate Steinle remain at a memorial site on Pier 14 in San Francisco. The administration has appealed.

Gillian Christensen, an ICE spokesperson, has said the detainer wasn't honored. "She would still be alive today if her killer had been imprisoned or deported, as he should have been".

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