Illegal Immigrant in Kate Steinle’s Death Wants Gun Conviction Overturned

FILE - In this July 7, 2015 file photo, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, right, is led into the courtroom by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, left, and Assistant District Attorney Diana Garciaor, center, for his arraignment at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco. The murder trial started Monday, …
Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, Pool, File

The illegal immigrant charged with felony possession of a firearm instead of the murder of Kate Steinle is now seeking to have his felony possession charges thrown out.

Steinle was shot and killed on San Francisco’s Pier 14 on July 1, 2015. A year and a half later, on December 1, 2017, Breitbart News reported:

The jury in the Steinle murder trial found five-time deported and seven-time felon illegal alien Jose Garcia Zarate, also known as Juan Francisco López-Sánchez, not guilty on homicide charges that he murdered the 32-year-old, despite his previous admission to shooting and killing Steinle while she was walking on a pier with her father.

Ultimately, the jury found Zarate not guilty of first and second-degree murder, as well as negligent homicide, meaning jurors believed that the illegal alien accidentally found the gun and it accidentally fired rounds into the San Francisco crowd and ricochetted and hit Steinle, killing her.

The nation was stunned by the verdict, with President Trump describing it as “disgraceful.”

The case has now taken a new twist as Zarate’s attorney, Matt Gonzalez, is pushing to have the felony gun possession charge overturned.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Gonzalez argues that because Zarate “was convicted of carrying a gun but acquitted of murder in the shooting of Kate Steinle on a San Francisco Bay pier” then it is fair to claim he “never actually possessed the weapon in a legal sense and should be given a new trial on that count.”

At the same time, Gonzalez agrees with prosecutors’ claims that Zarate threw the gun into the bay after shots were fired from it. However, whereas the prosecutor says Zarate threw it away “in an effort to avoid detection,” Gonzalez argues that Zarate threw it away “to stop it from continuing to shoot.”

The Sig Sauer handgun that Zarate threw into the bay does not shoot on its own. Rather, it shoots one round each time the trigger is pulled, if the trigger is pulled. The reliability of the gun has contributed to Sig Sauer securing numerous contracts with federal agencies and police departments around the country.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at Sign up to get Down Range at


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