Feds File New Charges Against Undocumented Immigrant In Kate Steinle Case

Feds File New Charges Against Undocumented Immigrant In Kate Steinle Case

Garcia Zarate, now in the San Francisco County Jail, was found not guilty last week of all homicide charges in the July 2015 death of Kate Steinle.

Garcia Zarate was found guilty on a state charge of being a felon is possession of a firearm and could face up to three years in prison.

In the state's murder and manslaughter case against Zarate, his defense lawyers said he found the weapon and it accidently discharged, shooting Steinle as he held it.

Legal experts have said prosecutors overreached by asking for a first-degree murder conviction because the fatal shot ricocheted off the ground, supporting Garcia Zarate's defense that the shooting was an accident.

Each count of the new grand jury indictment carries a maximum 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.

Federal officials already have a criminal warrant signed by a judge in 2015 for Garcia Zarate, and he will be released to the U.S. Marshal once he is eligible to be released following the conclusion of his state case, according to the San Francisco Sheriff's Department. He said he still believed Garcia Zarate should have been convicted of Steinle's murder.

Garcia Zarate had been deported five times before the 2015 shooting.

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30 rejected charges of first- and second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and assault with a semiautomatic pistol.

Jurors left court last week without speaking publicly about their verdict and Gascon said they have not spoken with prosecutors either.

Kate Steinle was gunned down by an illegal alien who told authorities he specifically went to San Francisco because it was a sanctuary city.

Garcia-Zarate is not yet represented by counsel.

President Donald Trump frequently brought up the case a year ago during his presidential campaign to criticize efforts in the U.S.to combat illegal immigration.

Gascon on Tuesday called Trump a "madman" for a series of tweets deriding the jury's verdict.

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.

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

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