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Man believed to have killed Kate Steinle found not guilty

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate. Photo: Michael Macor / San Francisco Chronicle via AP

A San Francisco jury has found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty in the murder of Kate Steinle in 2015.

Why it matters: Steinle's murder was the backbone of a law voted on by the House earlier this year, called Kate's Law, which was originally introduced in 2015. The law would make punishment for convicted and deported criminals more severe if they re-entered the country. Garcia Zarate is a Mexican citizen who was released from jail after a federal request to hold him for his sixth deportation from the United States, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He had "a history of drug crimes but no record of violence," per the Chronicle.

In response, President Trump tweeted, "A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration."

  • Prosecutors argued that Garcia Zarate had "the intent of doing harm" that day.
  • Defense lawyers said the shooting was an accident after he "found the gun wrapped in a T-shirt...just seconds before it discharged in his hands."
  • Public defender Matt Gonzalez showed a video to the jury showing Garcia Zarate sitting on the pier in a spot immediately after a group of six had been in the same spot. He argued "it was possible that those people had discarded the gun," per the Chronicle.
  • The jury had the option of convicting Garcia Zarate of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or involuntary manslaughter.
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