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Jurors acquit illegal immigrant in high-profile murder case

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 12/01/17, 11:08 am

Jurors in San Francisco reached a surprise verdict Thursday night in a case that grabbed national headlines and sparked heated debate over sanctuary cities. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was found not guilty of the most serious charges against him in the 2015 shooting of Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier. Jurors acquitted Zarate, an illegal immigrant, of murder and involuntary manslaughter but found him guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon. The prosecution said the shooting was intentional, but the defense successfully argued it was an accident. Zarate, a Mexican national, was in the country illegally after being deported from the United States five times. San Francisco authorities released him from jail about three months before the shooting after the city denied federal requests to hold him for deportation. The defendant’s lawyers called the verdict a vindication for immigrant rights. President Donald Trump has often cited the Steinle case as evidence of the need for stronger immigration laws. “A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case!” Trump tweeted Thursday. “No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration.”


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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital assistant editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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