The Mexican man accused of shooting 32-year-old Kate Steinle two years ago at San Francisco’s Pier 14 not guilty of murder charges has been found not guilty.
The case of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 54, sparked remarks against sanctuary cities and Mexicans by then-candidate Donald Trump.
The jury considered first-degree, second-degree or involuntary manslaughter for Garcia Zarate. The case against Garcia Zarate, who immigrated illegally to the United States from Mexico, became a rallying cry for Trump during his campaign for the White House, as he pushed to halt illegal immigration and penalize so-called sanctuary cities, including San Francisco.
Zarate, who had been deported to his native Mexico five times since first entering the United States as a juvenile, said the July 1, 2015, shooting of Kate Steinle on a pier in San Francisco, was an accident.
Instead of a sixth deportation after being held at a San Francisco jail for a drug charge, he was released.
The San Francisco jury, while acquitting him of murder and manslaughter charges, found him guilty of the lesser charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter covering the case said on Twitter.
According to the Mercury News, the four-week trial focused on evidence like bullet trajectories, gunshot residue and security video analysis rather than politics.
Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez said the “verdict should be respected.”
“For those who might criticize this verdict … the president, Vice President … let me just remind them they are themselves under investigation,” he added, the Mercury News reported.
A spokeswoman for San Francisco Superior Court could not immediately be reached for comment on the verdict.
Reuters contributed to this report.