A man accused of fatally shooting Kathryn Steinle in a case that President Donald Trump frequently cited in the national debate over illegal immigration, was found not guilty on all accounts except felony possession of a weapon. Jurors in San Francisco deliberated for several days before returning the surprise verdict involving Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a Mexican immigrant in the country illegally who had been deported five times before the fatal shooting.
Prosecutors had given the jury the option to convict Garcia Zarate of first- or second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter. Steinle was shot in the back in July 2015, as she walked with her father on San Francisco’s Pier 14, near Embarcadero and Mission streets. Less than an hour later, Garcia Zarate, a seven-time felon, was arrested about a mile away from the shooting scene.
His previous brushes with the law and release by law enforcement stoked angry arguments over so-called sanctuary cities. Then-presidential candidate Trump repeatedly returned to Steinle’s killing to make his case for building a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border and to punish cities he accused of not cooperating with immigration enforcement.
“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately,” Trump said in a statement two days after Steinle died. “This is an absolutely disgraceful situation, and I am the only one that can fix it.”
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