Jurors Find Kate Steinle's Alleged Killer Not Guilty of Murder

Violet Powell
December 1, 2017

"While the State of California sought a murder charge for the man who caused Ms. Steinle's death-a man who would not have been on the streets of San Francisco if the city simply honored an ICE detainer-the people ultimately convicted him of felon in possession of a firearm".

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.

Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when the shooting happened.

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.

Languishing in seventh behind his Republican competitors at the time, just two weeks into his campaign, Trump used Garcia Zarate's past-he had been deported from the US five times and had seven felony convictions, including drug charges-as proof of his campaign's anti-immigrant operating thesis.

The jury of six men and six women started deliberations last Tuesday and considered dueling arguments that Garcia Zarate was either a hapless, homeless man who killed Steinle in a freak accident or a calculated murderer intent on playing a sick game.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, arrested in connection with the July 1, 2015, shooting of Kate Steinle on a pier in San Francisco, is led into the Hall of Justice for his arraignment in San Francisco on July 7, 2015.

The jury seemed to have been convinced by defense arguments that Garcia-Zarate had no direct intention of firing the.40-caliber Sig Sauer pistol that he found that day on the waterfront, four days after it had been stolen from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger's vehicle nearby.

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Ugarte said the case was used "to foment hate" and used "to catapult a presidency along that philosophy of hate of others".

Several months after Steinle's death, Trump claimed that she had been shot five times. "Nothing about (Garcia Zarate's) ethnicity or immigration status was relevant in this case".

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

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

President Donald Trump cited the case during his campaign in a bid to show the country needed tougher immigration policies. He was also said to have been released from a San Francisco jail about three months before the shooting, despite a request from the federal immigration authorities asking to detain him for deportation.

A jury has reached a verdict Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, in the trial of Mexican man at center of immigration debate in the San Francisco pier shooting.

Jurors alerted the judge Thursday that they had a verdict in the death of Kate Steinle.

President Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr. responded to the verdict and tweeted out saying: "What a disgrace".

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