SAN FRANCISCO, November 30, 2017 – In a decision that has left conservative media and pundits aghast, a San Francisco jury has found illegal immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarata not guilty of murdering Kate Steinle. Steinle was murdered in July 2015, while her father was taking photos of her at a San Francisco pier.
The jury was comprised of six men and six women, which included three immigrants.
The Steinle verdict shakes the nation
The Steinle not guilty verdict has shook the nation, further igniting a national debate about current U.S. immigration policy and sanctuary cities. Zarate who was deported five times, was facing a sixth deportation before he shot and killed Steinle.
Zarate did not deny shooting Steinle claiming it was an accident.
The anger over the not guilty verdict in the murder of Steinle is acerbated by the fact that San Francisco is a “sanctuary city” which limits their cooperation with U.S. immigration officials.
The gun was stolen from a vehicle belonging to a Bureau of Land Management ranger, however prosecutors were not able to prove that Zarate stole the gun. The city had been facing a massive epidemic of car burglaries over the years.
Prior to the shooting, Zarate had just been released from prison serving time for illegally re-entry into the United States. He was also transferred to a San Francisco jail in 2015, to serve a charge for selling marijuana.
Prosecutors ended up dropping the marijuana charge, releasing Zarate. Federal Officials had a detainer request on Zarate, however the sanctuary city ignored it.
Defense on Steinle verdict
Defense lawyers argued that Garcia Zarate did not intend to kill Kate Steinle. They say Zarate picked up an object he didn’t know was a gun and it accidentally fired. The bullet ricocheted on the pier’s concrete walkway and fatally struck Kate Steinle in the back.
Prosecution on Steinle verdict
San Francisco Deputy District Attorney Diana Garcia said during the trial that she didn’t know why Garcia Zarate fired the weapon, but he created a risk of death by bringing the firearm to the pier and twirling around on a chair for at least 20 minutes before he fired.
Throughout the 2016 election, President Donald Trump focused on the issue of sanctuary cities and had been working at withholding funding from sanctuary cities, but it was blocked by a federal judge. The judge’s decision has been appealed.