A California appeals court judge has vacated the 2017 guilty verdict for the illegal migrant who allegedly shot Kate Steinle on a San Francisco waterfront in 2015.
The jury did not convict the man, Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate, for her murder, but agreed in November 2017 he was guilty of being a felon in possession of a gun.
Zarate had been deported five times, and Steinle’s killing spotlighted the federal government’s weak enforcement of migration laws during Donald Trump’s winning 2016 campaign.
The Associated Press reported:
The public defender who represented an immigrant who fatally shot a woman on the San Francisco waterfront in 2015 says he is gratified a state appeals court reversed the man’s conviction on a charge of being a felon in possession of a gun, the one count on which he was found guilty.
The 1st District Court of Appeal on Friday overturned the conviction against Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate because the judge failed to instruct the jury on his defense that he only momentarily possessed the gun.
The Associated Press also reported further comments:
Tony Serra, the attorney who is representing Garcia-Zarate on federal charges of gun possession and being in the country illegally, said his client is in custody and faces a Jan. 13 [federal] trial.
He said the state reversal means the [federal] district attorney will have the option of re-trying Garcia-Zarate on those charges.
“That kind of error causes reversals all the time. Then the prosecution has the prerogative of going again,” Serra said. “The state case is a heavier case because it’s a homicide and a gun. … It’s going to be a big potential decision on what they’re going to do.”
In November 2017, Trump denounced the not-guilty verdict on the murder charge against Zarate.
A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 1, 2017
The legal process is not completed. Garcia-Zarate faces federal charges for illegal possession of a gun.