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BREAKING: Jury In San Francisco Finds Accused Killer Of Kate Steinle Not Guilty Of Murder


Breaking News From NPR

A jury in San Francisco has found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, not guilty of murder in the death of 32-year-old Kate Steinle two years ago in a case that became a flashpoint in the national debate on illegal immigration.

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump cited the Steinle killing as a justification for his intended crackdown on immigration.

The jury of six women and six men acquitted the 45-year-old Garcia Zarate of murder in the first and second degrees, and the alternate charge of involuntary manslaughter.

He was convicted on the lesser charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The defendant had been deported five times.He was scheduled for a sixth deportation in 2015 while he was in federal custody for felony reentry. Instead of deporting him, federal authorities sent him to San Francisco on a 20-year-old drug warrant for a small amount of marijuana.

San Francisco prosecutors dropped the charge and then the sheriff’s department let him go, despite a federal detainer request. Under local sanctuary city rules, local law enforcement won’t hold a person beyond the term of their incarceration. In the aftermath of the shooting there was a lot of finger-pointing among local officials. San Francisco still won’t honor a federal detainer request unless the detainee has committed a violent or serious felony in the past seven years.