A San Francisco jury found the illegal immigrant accused of killing Kate Steinle not guilty of murder Thursday, a stunning result in a case that ignited a nationwide debate over illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate has some prior felony convictions mostly for illegal re-entry into the USA and then additionally some - what would today be considered low-level drug crimes, at least in San Francisco, Calif.
He was convicted on the lesser charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Steinle was walking on Pier 14 with her father and a family friend around 6:30 p.m. when she was struck in the back by a single bullet that had ricocheted off the pier before it hit her.
Garcia Zarate said he found the stolen gun wrapped in a shirt under a chair on a pedestrian pier and that the weapon accidentally fired when he picked it up.
Hannity noted that Zarate had been released from a San Francisco jail about three months before the shooting, despite a federal request that he be held for deportation. San Francisco's "sanctuary city" law limits cooperation with US immigration authorities.
Several months after Steinle's death, Trump claimed that she had been shot five times.
That charge was dismissed by San Francisco prosecutors after he arrived.
Heat records tumble Tuesday; highs expected to top 90 through Thanksgiving weekend
A few batches of snow showers develop over the central and northern mountains with only about an inch or less of accumulation. Those brisk winds will continue this evening and add an extra chill, before winds slowly diminish later tonight .
"I urge the leaders of the nation's communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers", Sessions said.
In an interview with local media, Zarate said he had made his way to San Francisco because he knew he would be less likely to be deported because of the city's sanctuary policies. "He took the life of a young, vibrant, beautiful, cherished woman by the name of Kate Steinle", she said.
President Donald Trump blasted a California jury that acquitted a Mexican immigrant who was in the US illegally in the shooting death of a woman in San Francisco two years ago after local officials let the man go while he was awaiting deportation.
Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian said prosecutors were disappointed in the verdict but respected the jury's decision.
"Her death was preventable - and it should have been prevented", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in July. Instead of deporting him, federal authorities sent him to San Francisco on a 20-year-old drug warrant for a small amount of marijuana.
In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump tried to link Democrat Hillary Clinton to the controversy.
Jim Steinle, left, father of Kate Steinle, walks toward the courtroom at the San Francisco Hall of Justice on October 23, 2017.
In June, the House of Representatives passed "Kate's Law", a measure named for the victim that would increase maximum prison penalties for immigrants caught repeatedly entering the United States illegally.
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