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Garcia Zarate found not guilty in Steinle murder case
01 December 2017, 06:25 | Colleen Roy
Undocumented immigrant acquitted of Kathryn Steinle's murder
When a bullet from a gun in the hands of Jose Garcia-Zarate, a non-citizen in the US who had been arrested and deported multiple times, ricocheted off the ground and killed sightseer Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier in July 2015, it set off a national debate, which then-candidate Donald Trump inflamed, over the merits or demerits of certain cities' policies of not actively enforcing federal USA immigration law or cooperating in handing over illegal immigrants to federal authorities.
Illegal alien Jose Zarate shot Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier back in 2015.
Jim Steinle, who was walking with his 32-year-old daughter when she was killed, echoed Trump's sentiments, telling the San FranciscoChronicle the family was saddened and shocked by the verdict.
The San Francisco sheriff's department had released Zarate from jail before the shooting, despite a federal immigration request to detain him for deportation. He has repeatedly warned about violent Latino gangs flourishing in sanctuary cities, and used the crime as part of his efforts to justify a crackdown on undocumented immigrants and win support for a wall he wants built along the US boarder with Mexico. "I urge the leaders of the nation's communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers".
"Countless innocent American lives have been stolen because our politicians have failed in their duty to secure our borders and enforce our laws like they have to be enforced", Trump said during a August 2016 campaign speech in Phoenix, Arizona.
The sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm in California can range between 16 months and three years in prison. President Donald Trump used the case as an example of why the country needs tougher immigration policies during his campaign.
In June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed "Kate's Law", named for Steinle, that would increase penalties for illegal immigrants who return to the United States.
Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian said prosecutors were disappointed in the verdict but respected the jury's decision.
Despite the national political implications, the San Francisco jury was charged with a more discreet task of criminal culpability for Steinle's death.
He said ICE officials "will work to take custody" of Garcia Zarate and deport him. The defense had argued that the incident was a tragic accident, and that the gun Garcia Zarate, 45, was holding discharged accidentally and the bullet ricocheted for 78 feet before hitting Steinle.
Jim Steinle, left, father of Kate Steinle, walks toward the courtroom at the San Francisco Hall of Justice on October 23, 2017. "I have met with numerous great parents who lost their children to sanctuary cities and open borders". They say San Francisco's status as a "sanctuary city" limits their cooperation with United States immigration authorities.
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But the group said the average amount spent per person was $335.47 with 75 percent of it going toward gifts. Black Friday weekend no longer brings a stampede of crazed shoppers to America's malls.