Feds bring charges against man acquitted in Kate Steinle death

Gladys Abbott
December 7, 2017

In the state's murder and manslaughter case against Zarate, his defense lawyers said he found the weapon and it accidently discharged, shooting Steinle as he held it.

Prosecutors said Garcia Zarate deliberately fired into an unsuspecting crowd on the pier in July 2015, killing Steinle as she walked with her father.

Federal officials have charged Jose Inez Garcia Zarate with immigration and gun possession violations, one week after the illegal alien was acquitted in the murder of Kate Steinle.

Garcia Zarate was indicted by a federal grand jury today on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and being an illegally present alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 14 on the firearms possession conviction, and Garcia Zarate is expected to be sentenced to either 16 months in prison, two years or three years, depending on the ruling of Judge James Feng.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said the jury's decision was "hard to receive". Garcia Zarate is to be sentenced in state court December 14.

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The new charges appear to signal that federal authorities hope to try, convict and incarcerate the five-time deportee before he is ultimately expelled from the U.S. Defense attorneys argued that Garcia Zarate found the handgun and that it went off accidentally.

30 rejected charges of first- and second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and assault with a semiautomatic pistol. The case has sparked national outrage over sanctuary cities, and the need for stricter laws on illegal immigration.

San Francisco is a so-called sanctuary city and local officials are limited in the cooperation they can give with federal deportation efforts.

Trump called the verdict "disgraceful", while Sessions said San Francisco's status as a sanctuary city was largely to blame for what happened. "This tragedy could have been prevented if San Francisco had turned the alien over to ICE, as we requested, instead of releasing him back onto the streets".

However critics have argued they encourage crime, and the current administration has made several attempts to punish Sanctuary City jurisdictions by withholding federal grant funds.

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