April 22, 2018

Illegal Immigrant Faces Federal Charges in Kate Steinle's Death

06 December 2017, 09:56 | Melvin Schneider

Kate Steinle case: Garcia Zarate indicted by feds as Gascón rips 'mad man' Trump

New immigration, gun charges filed against illegal immigrant acquitted in Kate Steinle trial

While Garcia Zarate was acquitted Thursday of more serious charges including murder, involuntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon for the July 1, 2015, shooting, he was found guilty of a state gun charge. If convicted, Zarate faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison before a potential deportation. He claimed the shooting was accidental.

Defense lawyers for Garcia Zarate said Monday they will appeal the state charge for which he was convicted.

CNN reached out to Garcia Zarate's attorneys on Tuesday but didn't receive an immediate response.

Jurors were asked to determine whether Garcia Zarate intentionally opened fire on a crowd at Pier 14 or whether the.40-caliber handgun he was holding accidentally discharged.

The case also caught the attention of presidential candidate Donald Trump previous year, who used it to highlight crime committed by undocumented immigrants during his campaign.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon on Tuesday defended his office's handling of the case. "We believe this was a homicide", said at a news conference Tuesday.

Gascon also criticized President Trump and conservative pundits for turning the trial into a "political football".

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Deputy District Attorney Diana Garcia said in her opening statements in October that Garcia Zarate "meant to shoot" at people, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Legal experts have said prosecutors overreached by asking for a first-degree murder conviction because the fatal shot ricocheted off the ground, supporting Garcia Zarate's defense that the shooting was an accident.

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.

The jury deliberated for six days before issuing its decision.

Steinle's father, Jim Steinle, said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle that the verdict had "saddened and shocked" the family.

Trump called the verdict "disgraceful", while Sessions said San Francisco's status as a sanctuary city was largely to blame for what happened.

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