A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted the illegal alien who was acquitted in a California court of the murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle.
Jose Garcia Zarate was indicted “for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and for being an illegally present alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition,” according to the Department of Justice.
The California court that acquitted Zarate of multiple counts of murder did convict Zarate of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The indictment states that Mexican citizen Zarate was in possession of a semi-automatic pistol and multiple rounds of ammunition on July 1, 2015.
Zarate, formerly identified by one of his aliases, Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, made a jailhouse confession to local ABC news affiliate that he fired the shot that killed Steinle on San Francisco’s pier 14 while walking with her father on July 1, 2015. He also told the outlet that he previously chose to go to San Francisco for its sanctuary policies.
Zarate is currently in custody on the conviction in California. He could face three years on that conviction, with time served possibly counting against that. He could be released very soon.
If convicted on these federal charges, Zarate faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison.
The federal prosecutors in this case are Assistant United States Attorneys Hallie Hoffman and Shiao Lee. The Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms led the investigation that led to these federal charges.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana