Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a a 45-year-old illegal immigrant who was deported five times, was acquitted of homicide for the death of Kate Steinle in a San Francisco criminal court on Thursday night.
Not only was Zarate acquitted of murder and involuntary manslaughter charges, he was cleared of assault with a deadly weapon. All the jury convicted him of was being a felon in possession of a firearm.
As NPR reported:
The jury of six women and six men acquitted the 45-year-old Garcia Zarate of murder in the first and second degrees, and the alternate charge of involuntary manslaughter.
He was convicted on the lesser charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Steinle’s killing put the illegal immigrant issue back on the map for many concerned that violent criminals are among the millions who the U.S. government has been allowed to enter and reside in the country. She died in July 2015 after Zarate discharged his firearm near San Francisco’s Pier 14. An expert testified in court that the bullet had ricocheted.
Donald Trump ran in part on the Steinle killing as part of his case for building a wall with Mexico. In a 2016 immigration speech, Trump said that “countless innocent American lives have been stolen because our politicians have failed in their duty to secure our borders and enforce our laws.”
The future president invoked the death of Kate Steinle, who he said was “gunned down in the sanctuary city of San Francisco, by an illegal immigrant, deported five previous times.”
San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” status was also a point of contention for the president.
“My opponent wants Sanctuary Cities. But where was sanctuary for Kate Steinle?” Trump asked during the presidential campaign.
Steinle’s death was a landmark moment for the “sanctuary city” controversy. Assuredly, the causes of securing our borders and enforcing the rule of law will not die with her.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated with more information as forthcoming.
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