Feds File New Charges Against Undocumented Immigrant In Kate Steinle Case

Feds File New Charges Against Undocumented Immigrant In Kate Steinle Case

A federal grand jury has indicted a Mexican man on immigration and weapons charges after he was acquitted of murder in the 2015 shooting death of Kathryn Steinle, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

"A federal grand jury indicted Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate today for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and for being an illegally-present alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition", the Department of Justice announced. The jury apparently agreed with the defense which argued that a single shot killed Steinle accidentally after it ricocheted off of the ground before striking her in the back.

The charges, being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and possessing a firearm and ammunition as an illegal alien, could bring Zarate a 10-year prison sentence.

The case became a flashpoint in arguments on illegal immigration when it was learned that Zarate had been released from jail prior to the shooting under a "sanctuary city" policy, instead of being handed over to immigration authorities for deportation.

His public defender Matt Gonzalez said Garcia Zarate will ask a judge to toss out the state conviction.

Garcia-Zarate is not yet represented by counsel.

Garcia Zarate has been deported and had returned to the United States five times. He said he still believed Garcia Zarate should have been convicted of Steinle's murder.

US Quits Migration Pact, Saying It Infringes on Sovereignty
He added that the United States "has the experience and expertise to help ensure that this process leads to a successful outcome". The US Embassy in the United Nations said that President Donald Trump is determined to be separated from the agreement process.

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

Jurors could also have convicted Garcia Zarate of second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter but chose not to.

That case drew national attention after then-candidate Donald Trump raised it as a justification for his proposed crackdown on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.

The case sparked a fierce debate over sanctuary cities, and forced San Francisco officials to defend its policy.

San Francisco prohibits city law enforcement officers from asking about immigration status or detaining people exclusively on the basis of civil immigration detainers after they are eligible for release.

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

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