Garcia Zarate found not guilty in Steinle murder case

Marsha Scott
December 1, 2017

The father of a woman who was shot and killed on a San Francisco pier said he was shocked when a jury acquitted a Mexican immigrant accused of murder in the case. However, he was found guilty of possession of a firearm.

In her closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Diana Garcia said the suspect found the gun somewhere and deliberately fired at Steinle in "his own secret version of Russian roulette". He will remain in custody.

Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez said in his closing argument that he knows it's hard to believe Garcia Zarate found an object that turned out to be a weapon, which fired when he picked it up.

A large photo of Kate Steinle is shown while her dad Jim Steinle testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, July 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. It's unclear how the gun got to the pier.

"Donald Trump talks about Kate Steinle like he knows her".

In a campaign speech, Trump mentioned Steinle's name and described her as having been "gunned down in the sanctuary city of San Francisco, by an illegal immigrant, deported five previous times".

After he was elected president, Trump signed an executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with USA immigration authorities, a policy that a federal judge in San Francisco permanently blocked Monday.

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Garcia Zarate had been released from the San Francisco jail about three months before the shooting, despite a request by federal immigration authorities to detain him for deportation.

Gonzalez added: "Many people have criticized this case, including the attorney general of the US, the president and the vice president".

Despite the national political implications, the San Francisco jury was charged with a more discreet task of criminal culpability for Steinle's death.

Zarate's defense lawyer, Francisco Ugarte, remarked that the death of Steinle was an "incomprehensible tragedy" but also commented that the ruling was a vindication for immigrants.

Matt Gonzalez of the Public Defender's office represented Garcia Zarate, arguing throughout the trial that his client did not intend to shoot the gun, but instead found it on Pier 14 wrapped in a t-shirt.

The Bureau of Land Management previously said that the gun belonged to one of its enforcement rangers and was stolen from a federal agent's vehicle. "I urge the leaders of the nation's communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers".

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. The administration has appealed. She was a 32-year-old medical equipment saleswoman.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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