Garcia Zarate found not guilty in Steinle murder case


Kathryn Steinle was shot dead at San Francisco's Pier 14 while out for an evening stroll with her father along the waterfront. Again, I'm not suggesting that necessarily makes the murder, I just don't understand how his handling of the weapon does not make him culpable for her death even if you assume the shooting itself was an accident.

President Donald Trump cited the case during his campaign in a bid to show the country needed tougher immigration policies.

A spokesman for the San Francisco district attorney, Alex Bastian, says the acquittal of a Mexican man in a high-profile killing was not the verdict they had hoped for, but that prosecutors would respect the jury's decision.

The sheriff's department released him a few days later after the district attorney dropped the marijuana charge, despite a US request to detain him for deportation.

Steinle's father, James Steinle, who was with her when she was shot, took the stand for the prosecution back in late October, and in emotional testimony, described not understanding what had happened to his daughter initially.

He was convicted on the lesser charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

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The gun was stolen four days before the killing from the parked vehicle of a visiting Bureau of Land Management ranger. San Francisco still won't honor a federal detainer request unless the detainee has committed a violent or serious felony in the past seven years.

Before the shooting, Garcia Zarate had finished a federal prison sentence for illegal re-entry into the United States and had been transferred to San Francisco's jail in March 2015 to face a 20-year-old charge for selling marijuana. A local ordinance prohibits employees from helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement with immigration investigations or arrests "unless such help is required by federal or state law or a warrant".

The city's sanctuary policies were not mentioned in the trial and there were only brief references to the defendant's immigration status.

In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump tried to link Democrat Hillary Clinton to the controversy. "But where was sanctuary for Kate Steinle?" he asked. The timing and specifics of Steinle's tragic death catapulted the case into the national spotlight as a cause célèbre for then-candidate Donald Trump, who seized upon the death of "beautiful Kate", as he referred to her on the stump. I've never heard a word from his campaign manager, I've never heard a word from him.

Garcia Zarate was charged with murder, assault with a deadly weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the death of Steinle, a 32-year-old Pleasanton native and San Francisco resident, on July 1, 2015. "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".