Jose Ines Garcia Zarate shot and killed Kate Steinle while she was walking with her dad on a San Francisco pier in 2015. He had been deported five times prior. He had picked San Francisco because he knew it was a sanctuary city, so authorities wouldn’t be actively looking for him. Zarate, who was known as Francisco Sanchez at the time of his arrest, said he found the .40 caliber handgun wrapped in a t-shirt, and that it accidentally went off, ricocheting off the pier and striking Steinle. Her last words to her father were, “help me, Dad.”
BREAKING: Immigrant acquitted of killing woman on San Francisco pier is sentenced to time served for gun charge.— The Associated Press (@AP) January 5, 2018
The handgun belonged to a federal officer, though it was not his government-issued firearm. On November 30, 2017, Zarate was found not guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or second-degree manslaughter. He was found guilty of a gun charge. It was a disgrace to justice. In early December, federal authorities announced they would file gun charges against Zarate. Now, a judge has sentenced Zarate to time served (via AP):
A Mexican man acquitted of murder in the shooting death of a San Francisco woman that sparked a national immigration debate was sentenced Friday to time served for illegal gun possession.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Samuel Feng also denied a defense request to give Jose Ines Garcia Zarate a new trial for his conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Garcia Zarate will now be taken into federal custody, but it’s not clear when he will be transferred.
Defense attorneys argued that the judge failed to properly instruct jurors, who found Garcia Zarate not guilty last month of killing Kate Steinle on a popular pier in 2015.
Garcia Zarate faced a maximum sentence of three years behind bars but has been held in the San Francisco jail since his July 1, 2015, arrest.
The Steinle killing prompted a nationwide debate about sanctuary cities. The Trump administration tried to block DOJ grants to cities that adopted the policy, but was blocked by the courts.