Posted on January 18, 2019

Immigrant Acquitted in Kate Steinle’s Shooting Death Wants Gun Conviction Overturned

Associated Press, January 16, 2019

A Mexican man whose role in the shooting death of a woman walking on a San Francisco pier touched off a fierce immigration debate is seeking to overturn his felony gun possession conviction. It was the only charge he was found guilty of after a jury acquitted him of murder.

Jose Inez Garcia Zarate had been deported five times at the time of the shooting and was wanted for a sixth deportation proceeding.

He was charged with murder and illegal gun possession in the fatal shooting of Kate Steinle in July 2015. Steinle was shot in the back was she walked with her father on a city pier crowded with tourists taking in the sights.

During the trial, his defense lawyers called an expert who testified that an unintentional ricochet shot killed Steinle. They argued that the weapon went off in their client’s hands in what was a tragic accident. Garcia Zarate wants the gun conviction overturned, contending he didn’t know a gun was in his hands because it was wrapped in a T-shirt when it fired and he dropped it almost immediately after picking it up. He argues in court papers that he can’t be convicted of illegal gun possession.

Garcia Zarate had been recently released from jail at the time of the shooting after prosecutors dropped a 20-year-old marijuana possession charge. He had been transferred to San Francisco’s jail after serving nearly four years in federal prison for illegal reentry into the United States.


The gun used in the shooting belonged to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger who reported it stolen from his car parked in San Francisco. {snip}

{snip} U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions blamed San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy for Steinle’s death. {snip}