Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Illegal immigrant hit with federal charges after San Francisco murder acquittal

Illegal immigrant hit with federal charges after San Francisco murder acquittal Illegal immigrant hit with federal charges after San Francisco murder acquittal
Nellie Chapman | 06 December, 2017, 09:55

While Garcia Zarate was acquitted Thursday of more serious charges including murder, involuntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon for the July 1, 2015, shooting, he was found guilty of a state gun charge.

Garcia Zarate, who is from Mexico and has been deported from the U.S. five times, faces up to 10 years in prison on each count, if convicted.

CNN reached out to Garcia Zarate's attorneys on Tuesday but didn't receive an immediate response.

Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate admitted to the killing of Steinle in 2015, but said that the gun he found under a San Francisco bench went off accidentally.

Garcia Zarate's acquittal prompted a firestorm of criticism from President Donald Trump and conservatives toward San Francisco, a so-called sanctuary city.

In closing arguments, lead attorney Matt Gonzalez argued that momentary possession, especially when you don't know what you're possessing, is not a crime.

"From the day the murder happened, (the) case has been used as a political stunt", Gascón said.

Gascon also called President Trump a "madman" for a series of tweets deriding the verdict. He said he still believed Garcia Zarate should have been convicted of Steinle's murder.

The illegal immigrant had been released from a San Francisco jail about three months before the shooting, despite a request by federal immigration authorities to detain him for deportation.

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.

The shooting sparked a national debate over immigration Because Garcia Zarate was deported to his native Mexico five times before he was arrested a few hours after the shooting.

Garcia-Zarate is a seven-time convicted felon and had been deported from the USA five times.

The jury sided with the defense after a weeks-long trial and six days of deliberation.

Sessions slammed the verdict Friday, telling Fox News that "it's time for this country to get its head on straight" because sanctuary cities like San Francisco "should not be protecting criminal aliens".