Federal officials have charged Jose Inez Garcia Zarate with immigration and gun possession violations, one week after the illegal alien was acquitted in the murder of Kate Steinle.
A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted him on Tuesday on one count each of felon in possession of a firearm and of "being an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States" in possession of a gun and ammunition, according to the indictment.
Jurors in San Francisco Superior Court on Thursday found Garcia Zarate, 45, not guilty of murder and assault with a deadly weapon in the July 1, 2015 shooting of Steinle, a 32-year-old Pleasanton native who was killed as she walked on Pier 14 with her father.
In this July 7, 2015 file photo, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, right, is led into a courtroom by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, and Assistant District Attorney Diana Garciaor.
Garcia Zarate, who is from Mexico and has been deported from the USA five times, faces up to 10 years in prison on each count, if convicted.
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.
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"Those who are using this for political benefits, to attack San Francisco and San Francisco values, I only say that this is an incredible city". Defense attorneys argued that Garcia Zarate found the handgun and that it went off accidentally.
Garcia Zarate had been deported five time before the shooting. The case has sparked national outrage over sanctuary cities, and the need for stricter laws on illegal immigration. The San Francisco sheriff's department also released him from jail several weeks before the shooting despite a request from federal immigration officials to detain him for deporation.
Gascón called out Trump, saying that "we shouldn't allow a madman that is tweeting dictate everything we do" when talking about the influence politics has had on the Steinle trial.
President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding from cities with similar policies.