On Monday, an illegal immigrant who has been deported five times was sentenced to time already served over a federal weapons charge related to his acquittal of murder in the 2015 shooting death of San Francisco woman Kate Steinle.
32-year-old Steinle was a beautiful California native, who was shot dead on July July 1, 2015, while walking with her father on Pier 24 in San Francisco. Steinle died two hours later as a result of her injuries.
In his defense, José Inez García Zárate, the illegal immigrant in question claimed that he had found the weapon and was attempting to shoot a sea lion. He was then arrested and charged with her murder.
In November 2017 a San Francisco jury found Kate Steinle’s killer Jose Zarate innocent of murder or manslaughter. He was ultimately only convicted of being an ex-felon in possession of a gun.
Citing Garcia-Zarate’s history of mental illness and the harsh conditions of his confinement, U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria found that seven years in state and federal incarceration was enough punishment for the two federal weapons offenses to which Garcia-Zarate pleaded guilty in March.
More details of this report from CBS News:
A California federal judge on Monday sentenced the Mexican man acquitted of murder in the 2015 shooting death of a woman on a San Francisco pier to the seven years he’s already spent in jail — bringing to a legal close the case that ignited a national firestorm over immigration, crime and sanctuary cities.
Jose Inez Garcia Zarate was in the U.S. illegally when Kate Steinle, 32, was fatally shot along a crowded Pier 14 where she was walking with her father and a family friend. He faces deportation and U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria told him to never return to the U.S.
“If you return to this country again and you are back in front of me, I will not spare you. Let this be your last warning: do not return to this country,” Chhabria said before sentencing Garcia Zarate to the time he has already served.
Garcia Zarate will be sent to Texas, where he faces a federal judge for failing to report his location when he was released from a San Francisco jail shortly before the shooting. He had been deported five times and was on track to be removed from the U.S. again when he shot Steinle.
The maximum sentence on the firearms charges was 10 years. Prosecutors agreed to the sentence of time served plus three years of probation. Garcia Zarate’s lawyers wanted a shorter sentence so he could apply any time left over in case the judge in Texas imposes additional prison time.
Last September San Francisco Public Defender’s Office Chief Attorney Matt Garcia and Managing Attorney Francisco Ugarte, who represented Garcia-Zarate, took to Medium urging the Biden admin to drop the charges.
Here’s what the post stated:
“After a unanimous jury exonerated Jose Ines Garcia Zarate on all state charges for the shooting death of Kate Steinle, he remains incarcerated. It’s been over six years since the tragedy, and nearly four years since his acquittal of murder and manslaughter. A California appellate court reversed his sole gun possession charge, holding the trial judge failed to properly instruct the jury on the ‘momentary possession’ defense.”