Man Acquitted In Kate Steinle Killing Faces Federal Gun And Immigration Charges

08 December, 2017, 02:06 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Matt Gonzalez and press

A federal grand jury has indicted a Mexican man on immigration and weapons charges after he was acquitted of murder in the 2015 shooting death of Kathryn Steinle, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Kate Steinle was gunned down by an illegal alien who told authorities he specifically went to San Francisco because it was a sanctuary city.

Garcia Zarate, who had served a federal prison sentence for illegal re-entry to the United States, was transferred in March of 2015 to San Francisco's jail to face a 20-year-old charge for selling marijuana.

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He added that Garcia-Zarate would ultimately be deported.

The statement was signed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Attorney Brian Stretch and Jill Snyder, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. They believe the gun possession conviction seemed at odds with the acquittals, given that those verdicts aligned with the defense contention that Garcia Zarate found the gun by happenstance at the pier where the shooting occurred. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said the jury's decision was "hard to receive".

The defendant accused of shooting Kate Steinle is facing new federal charges, just days after being acquitted of murder in a high-profile state trial.

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In San Francisco, reaction to the not-guilty verdict persists.

Zarate was acquitted of first and second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter on Thursday.

Gascón called out Trump, saying that "we shouldn't allow a madman that is tweeting dictate everything we do" when talking about the influence politics has had on the Steinle trial.

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The case became a flashpoint in arguments on illegal immigration when it was learned that Zarate had been released from jail prior to the shooting under a "sanctuary city" policy, instead of being handed over to immigration authorities for deportation. The bullet had ricocheted off the concrete walkway before striking Steinle, they pointed out. The gun, a Sig Sauer P239 semiautomatic pistol, was stolen from an unlocked auto of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger, authorities said.

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