Trump Blasts 'Disgraceful' Kate Steinle Verdict

Casey Dawson
December 1, 2017

A prosecutor said in her closing arguments November 20 that Zarate was "playing his own secret version of Russian roulette" when he shot and killed Steinle in July 2015.

The jury considered first-degree and second-degree murder charges, as well as involuntary manslaughter charges against Garcia Zarate, but, after six days of deliberation, found the 45-year-old Mexican citizen guilty only of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

President Donald Trump, who often brought up the death of Kate Steinle during his campaign, tweeted Thursday night that the acquittal of the undocumented immigrant who shot her was a "disgraceful verdict".

Zarate, of Mexico, had been deported several times and has previous convictions for re-entry after deportation.

The verdict was announced on Thursday, almost a week after the jury began deliberating.

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.

"When jurisdictions choose to return criminal aliens to the streets rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities, they put the public's safety at risk", the statement said.

Prosecutors said the verdict was not what they had hoped for, but they respect the decision.

"I can't stress this enough, this really is about the Steinle family". "Our hearts go out to them".

EMSLIE: There has been some change to San Francisco sanctuary rules. But depending on, you know, what level he gets, he would nearly have time served for the most severe sentence for the one crime that he was convicted of in this case. San Francisco's "sanctuary city" law limits cooperation with US immigration authorities. "It was used to catapult a presidency along that philosophy of hate of others", defense attorney Francisco Ugarte said after the verdict.

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Trump often cited Steinle's death on a San Francisco pier during his presidential run as an example of the dangers of sanctuary cities. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deputy Director Thomas Homan said his agency will now seek take custody of Zarate and deport him.

Known as Kate, she was walking along the pier when she was struck by a bullet and died in her father's arms.

Surveillance video showed Garcia Zarate running away.

Prosecutors said Garcia Zarate was playing his own "secret version of Russian roulette" and deliberately fired into an unsuspecting crowd on the pier, killing Steinle. He said it was wrapped in cloth, and when Garcia Zarate unwrapped it, the gun accidentally discharged.

He told police that he stepped on the gun, causing it to fire.

The sheriff's department released him a few days later after the district attorney dropped the marijuana charge, despite a USA request to detain him for deportation.

The case spotlighted San Francisco's "sanctuary city" policy, which limits local officials from cooperating with US immigration authorities. "I have met with numerous great parents who lost their children to sanctuary cities and open borders. That won't happen if I become President".

In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump tried to link Democrat Hillary Clinton to the controversy.

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. The legislation would increase maximum prison penalties for immigrants caught repeatedly entering the United States illegally. But it's unlikely to have enough votes to pass the Senate, which struggled with Kate's Law past year.

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