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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.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 45, was found not guilty on all counts in the 2015 shooting, except for felony possession of a weapon. Zarate faced a charge of second-degree murder, but jurors were instructed to consider first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.
At trial, Zarate admitted to firing the shot that killed Steinle, 32, but contended that he had picked up a .40-caliber handgun underneath a bench on the San Francisco pier and accidentally fired it July 1, 2015.
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A ballistics investigation revealed that the bullet skipped off the pavement before hitting Steinle in the back as she walked with her father on a popular pier, lending credence to Zarate’s claims that the shooting was an accident.
A Mexican national, Zarate–then known as Juan Francisco López-Sánchez–is a seven-time convicted felon who had been deported from the U.S. five times before the shooting.
Just months before the shooting, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials lodged an immigration detainer for Zarate with the San Francisco sheriff’s office, which declined the request.
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In an interview with local media, Zarate said he had made his way to San Francisco because he knew he would be less likely to be deported because of the city’s sanctuary policies. The incident sparked a nationwide debate over sanctuary cities and later became a central theme of Donald Trump’s campaign for president.
This is awesome news!
The Department of Justice unsealed an arrest warrant Friday for Jose Inez Garcia Zarate on Friday, the illegal immigrant acquitted this week in Kate Steinle’s murder trial.
Zarate was found not guilty of murdering Steinle on a pier in San Francisco in July 2015. Steinle was walking with her father and a family friend when she was shot, collapsing into her father's arms.
Zarate had been released from a San Francisco jail about three months before the shooting, despite a request by federal immigration authorities to detain him for deportation. The case sparked a national debate over illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.
He was acquitted of first- and second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and found not guilty of assault with a semi-automatic weapon. He was found guilty of posessing a firearm by a felon.
DOJ should also go after the mayors and council members of sanctuary cities for obstruction of (federal) justice and collusion to commit obstruction of justice. Once they are genuinely threatened with jail time and not just financial penalties, their attitudes might adjust to the way the rest of America thinks.