A San Francisco jury found the illegal immigrant accused of killing Kate Steinle not guilty of murder Thursday, a stunning result in a case that ignited a nationwide debate over illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 54, was found not guilty on all counts, except for felony possession of a weapon. Zarate faced a charge of second-degree murder, but jurors were instructed to consider first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.
At trial, Zarate admitted to firing the shot that killed Steinle, but contended that he had picked up a gun underneath a bench on the San Francisco pier and accidentally fired it. A ballistics investigation into the shooting revealed that the bullet skipped off the pavement before hitting Steinle, lending some credence to Zarate’s claims that the shooting was an accident.