The undocumented Mexican immigrant accused of killing Kate Steinle was found not guilty of murder by a jury in San Francisco. The jury’s decision reignited the debate over sanctuary cities and immigration policy.
On Thursday, the six men and six women jury acquitted Jose Ines Garcia Zarate of murder in the first and second degrees. The jurors also cleared him of involuntary manslaughter and assault with a weapon charges. They convicted him of possession of a firearm by a felon. Garcia Zarate could get a prison sentence of three years.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that Garcia Zarate intentionally shot Kate Steinle with a Sig Sauer .40 caliber gun two years ago. Four days before the incident, the gun was stolen from the parked car of visiting ranger from the Bureau of Land Management. There was no evidence linking Garcia Zarate to that robbery.
On the other hand, the defense lawyer argued that the shooting was an accident. Garcia Zarate found the gun wrapped in a cloth under his sear the pier. The gun fired accidentally. The expert witnesses who testified proved that the bullet ricocheted off the ground then traveled approximately 80 feet before hitting Kate Steinle.
Kate Steinle’s family: Justice was rendered, but it was not served”
After the jury’s verdict, the family of Kate Steinle shared their reaction to SF Chronicle. According to her father Jim, “We’re just shocked—saddened and shocked…that’s about it. There’s no other way you can coin it. Justice was rendered, but it was not surprised.”