Undocumented immigrant not guilty of murder in polarizing San Francisco case

Undocumented immigrant not guilty of murder in polarizing San Francisco case

In a campaign speech, Trump mentioned Steinle's name and described her as having been "gunned down in the sanctuary city of San Francisco, by an illegal immigrant, deported five previous times".

A Mexican immigrant was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges in San Francisco on Thursday in the politically charged shooting death of a woman, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on its Twitter page.

Defense lawyers said the shooting was an accident that happened when Garcia Zarate, who had a history of drug crimes but no record of violence, found the gun wrapped in a T-shirt or cloth under his seat on the pier just seconds before it discharged in his hands. Before the shooting, officials in San Francisco released him from custody instead of turning him over to immigration authorities.

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The jury of six men and six women started deliberations last Tuesday and considered dueling arguments that Garcia Zarate was either a hapless, homeless man who killed Steinle in a freak accident or a calculated murderer intent on playing a sick game. 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.

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The jury seemed to have been convinced by defense arguments that Garcia-Zarate had no direct intention of firing the.40-caliber Sig Sauer pistol that he found that day on the waterfront, four days after it had been stolen from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger's vehicle nearby.

President Donald Trump used the case as an example of why the country needs tougher immigration policies during his campaign.

Gonzalez said in his closing argument that he knows it's hard to believe Garcia Zarate found an object that turned out to be a weapon, which fired when he picked it up. The defense also offered expert witnesses who testified that the bullet ricocheted off of the ground and traveled about 78 feet before striking Steinle. The round had skipped off the concrete ground after being fired from a pistol that had been stolen, four days earlier, from the nearby parked vehicle of a federal ranger. He had finished a federal prison sentence for illegal re-entry into the United States and was transferred in March 2015 to San Francisco's jail to face a 20-year-old charge for selling marijuana. The administration has appealed. A local ordinance prohibits employees from helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement with immigration investigations or arrests "unless such help is required by federal or state law or a warrant".

Garcia Zarate had been deported from the United States back to Mexico five times. Freya Horne, chief legal counsel to the county sheriff who runs the jail, told CNN that he was let go because there was no legal cause to detain the suspect.

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