The trial of illegal immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 54, who was charged in the 2015 murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, has finally come to a close.
According to local station KGO, Zarate was acquitted of the second-degree murder charge against him. It was expected that Zarate would be deported, rather than released.
BREAKING: Jurors found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty in the murder trial of Kate Steinle, who was shot to death on Pier 14 in San Francisco in July 2015, in a case that sparked a nationwide debate over “sanctuary cities.” https://t.co/rN3CzKCa6K
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 1, 2017
Not guilty verdict in Kate Steinle murder. A travesty. But, I should not be surprised because San Fran is a sanctuary city. Heartbreaking for Steinle family.
— Donna Tropiano (@Fendi_Gucci_Gal) December 1, 2017
Kate and her father Jim were walking on San Francisco’s Embarcadero on July 1, 2015, when Steinle was struck by a bullet that ricocheted off of the pier.
“She was having trouble breathing and I couldn’t figure out what happened,” Steinle’s father recalled.
Steinle eventually died from her injuries.
Journalist Jessica Christian tweeted a video of the media frenzy outside of the courtroom after it was announced that the jury of six women and six men had made its final verdict.
Media frenzy at the Hall of Justice ahead of the verdict reading in the Kate Steinle trial. Reporters waiting to enter the courtroom. pic.twitter.com/kL42TFpMc4
— Jessica Christian (@jachristian) December 1, 2017
A firestorm of controversy over the potential danger of sanctuary cities was set off after it was revealed that Zarate, who was accused of firing the fatal shot from a Sig Sauer .40-caliber handgun that he allegedly stole, had also been living in the United States illegally.
CBS News reported that prior to Steinle’s death, Zarate had been deported five times.
As Fox News reported in October, San Francisco authorities freed Zarate, a homeless illegal immigrant, despite requests by federal officials that he be detained.
Fox News reported that during opening statements of the trial, Zarate’s attorney Matt Gonzalez stated that Zarate hadn’t stolen the firearm, but found it wrapped in a t-shirt on the pier.
President Donald Trump even weighed in on the incident two days after Steinle was fatally shot.
“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.
“This is an absolutely disgraceful situation, and I am the only one that can fix it. Nobody else has the guts to even talk about it. That won’t happen if I become president,” he added.
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