Kate Steinle’s accused killer found not guilty of murder

Kate Steinle

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was found not guilty Thursday of murdering Kate Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco in July 2015 in a case that sparked a heated national debate over illegal immigration and so-called sanctuary cities.

Zarate was acquitted of first and second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. He also was found not guilty of assault with a semi-automatic weapon. He was found guilty of possessing a firearm by a felon. The jury had deliberated for six days.

Steinle was walking with her father and a family friend in July 2015 when she was shot, collapsing into her father’s arms. Zarate had been released from a San Francisco jail about three months before the shooting, despite a request by federal immigration authorities to detain him for deportation.

KATE STEINLE TRIAL FEATURES DEMONSTRATION OF HOW SUSPECT COULD’VE CONCEALED MURDER WEAPON

San Francisco is a sanctuary city, with local law enforcement officials barred from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding to cities with similar immigration policies, but a federal judge in California permanently blocked his executive order last week.

In a response to the verdict, Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a statement saying that despite California’s attempt at a murder conviction, Zarate was able to walk away with only a firearm possession conviction because he was not turned over by San Francisco to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Radio host and author Mark Steryn sounds off on stunning not guilty verdict of illegal immigrant in Kate Steinle murder trial. #Tucker

“When jurisdictions choose to return criminal aliens to the streets rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities, they put the public’s safety at risk,” the statement said. “San Francisco’s decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle.”

“San Francisco’s policy of refusing to honor ICE detainers is a blatant threat to public safety and undermines the rule of law. 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,” ICE Deputy Director Tom Homan reacted.

Upon leaving the courtroom, representatives from both sides spoke to reporters. Defense Attorney Matt Gonzalez offered his condolences to the Steinle family and said the outcome of the case did not make what happened in 2015 any less terrible.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi also released a statement saying Zarate was “extremely relieved” by the outcome and that while Steinle’s death “was a horrible tragedy,” it was used as “political fodder for then candidate Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda.”

Adachi added, “Despite the unfairly politicized atmosphere surrounding this case, jurors focused on the evidence, which was clear and convincing, and rendered a just verdict.”

A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office said the verdict was not the one prosecutors were seeking but at the end of the day, the jury ultimately makes the decision. Prosecutors also said the Steinle family was “incredible” and that their hearts went out to them.

While Zarate’s immigration status brought the case into the national spotlight, jurors did not hear evidence about that, and it was not a factor in the trial.

After 12 days of testimony, dozens of witnesses and two days of closing arguments, the jury had to decide whether Steinle’s death was the result of an act of murder or a tragic accident.

San Francisco public defender Matt Gonzalez speaks to Claudia Cowan of Fox News.

Reporters in the room said the jurors looked very somber as they entered. When the judge was handed the verdict, the courtroom was completely silent. During the reading of the not guilty verdict of involuntary manslaughter, the defense team nodded in approval but didn’t show any emotion. Zarate sat stoically in his seat.

Earlier in the day, the bailiff and court clerk were seen entering the jury room with a small yellow evidence bag before retreating with it a few minutes later.

A source inside the courtroom confirmed that the jury asked to see the gun used to shoot Steinle. Zarate and his defense team maintained the argument that the suspect found the stolen weapon on the pier that day and it “just fired.”

The gun belonged to a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger and was stolen from his parked car a week earlier.

The bullet ricocheted on the pier’s concrete walkway before it struck Steinle, killing her. Zarate has admitted to shooting Steinle, but says it was an accident.

However, the prosecution painted a very different picture, telling jurors that Zarate deliberately shot the gun towards Steinle while “playing his own secret version of Russian roulette.”

Following Steinle’s death, Congress took action to pass new legislation called Kate’s Law. The law — passed by the House of Representatives in June — increases the penalties for deported aliens who try to return to the United States and are caught.

Fox News’ Claudia Cowan and Jennifer Girdon in San Francisco and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Great Emigration departs for Oregon

A massive wagon train, made up of 1,000 settlers and 1,000 head of cattle, sets off down the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri. Known as the “Great Emigration,” the expedition came two years after the first modest party of settlers ...
Read More

WALSH: The Only Thing Preventing Us From Descending Into Civil War

We’re told that “division” and “partisanship” and “bigotry” are destroying America. “Hate” is the cancer in our cultural bloodstream, they say. We must fight against hate speech and hate crimes and hate in every other form. There is so much ...
Read More

The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Gun Prepper Or, “Who Needs an AR-15 Anyway?”

As gun policy discussions unfold in the wake of mass shooter incidents, they routinely end in three buckets. There’s the “tyranny can never happen here” bucket, which the left has mostly abdicated in the wake of Trump winning after they ...
Read More

End of an era at the FBI

After nearly five decades as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), J. Edgar Hoover dies, leaving the powerful government agency without the administrator who had been largely responsible for its existence and shape. Educated as a lawyer and ...
Read More

Airborne units getting new vehicle this year; legs will have to wait

The Army’s five airborne infantry brigade combat teams are slated to begin fielding 300 Ground Mobility Vehicles in use by special operations forces troops this year. The legs? They’ll get theirs next year, if the funding request is approved. Thirty ...
Read More

British Parliament adopts the Coercive Acts

Upset by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant acts of destruction of British property by American colonists, the British Parliament enacts the Coercive Acts, to the outrage of American Patriots, on this day in 1774.The Coercive Acts were a ...
Read More

Jefferson elected to the Continental Congress

Future President Thomas Jefferson is elected to the second Continental Congress on this day in 1775. Jefferson, a Virginia delegate, quickly established himself in the Continental Congress with the publication of his paper entitled A Summary View of the Rights ...
Read More

7 EMP Proof Items for Your Bugout Bag

This post was gladly contributed by Ben Ayad from Outdorrs Time. There was a time when the world thought the nuclear bomb was as bad as it could get in war. Times have changed, and we know that the one ...
Read More

Parliament passes the Boston Port Act

On this day in 1774, British Parliament passes the Boston Port Act, closing the port of Boston and demanding that the city’s residents pay for the nearly $1 million worth (in today’s money) of tea dumped into Boston Harbor during ...
Read More

 

Most Read Stories

Project Thor
Defense

Did the U.S. Just launch “Project Thor” as the secret ZUMA Payload that SpaceX just put into Orbit?

The 107-country Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967 prohibits nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons from being placed or used from Earth’s orbit. What they didn’t count on was the U.S. Air Force’s most simple weapon […]

Police State
Defense

With a Stroke of a Pen, PA Governor Wolf Limits Firearm Rights by Proclaiming State of Emergency

Today, Pennsylvania Governor Wolf issued a proclamation declaring Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid epidemic a statewide disaster emergency, seemingly triggering the firearm prohibitions found in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6107 during declared emergencies. Specifically, Section 6107 provides: (a) General […]

Goodbye Brass
Defense

Goodbye, Brass?

by Art Merrill – Monday, February 13, 2017 Let’s skip the appetizer and get right to the meat and potatoes of a manufacturer’s claims for a new cartridge case technology to replace the 150-year reign of […]

Create Account!

Account Details

Name (required)

Zip Code (required)