By JULIET WILLIAMS Connected Press
A California state appeals court on Friday threw out the sole conviction against an immigrant who fatally shot a young lady on the San Francisco waterfront in 2015.
Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate was acquitted of murder in the killing of Kate Steinle, who was walking on a pier with her father when she was struck by a bullet in the back in July 2015. He was convicted of a single charge of getting a felon in possession of a gun.
The case against Garcia-Zarate, who was in the nation illegally and had been deported 5 instances, touched off a fierce immigration debate that was a fixture in Donald Trump’s stump speeches in his 2016 presidential campaign.
The 1st District Court of Appeal overturned the gun conviction mainly because the judge failed to give the jury the solution of acquitting Garcia-Zarate on the theory he only possessed the weapon for a moment.
Garcia-Zarate stated he unwittingly picked up the gun wrapped in a T-shirt, and it fired accidentally. The bullet ricocheted off a concrete walkway and struck Steinle, who was with her dad and a family members pal.
At the time, Garcia-Zarate had lately been released from the county jail although facing deportation proceedings. He was released below San Francisco’s so-known as sanctuary city policy that barred nearby law enforcement officials from cooperating with most federal immigration investigations.
Tony Serra, the lawyer who is representing Garcia-Zarate on federal charges of gun possession and getting in the nation illegally, stated his client is in custody and faces a Jan. 13 trial.
He stated the state reversal suggests the district lawyer will have the solution of re-attempting Garcia-Zarate on these charges.
“That type of error causes reversals all the time. Then the prosecution has the prerogative of going once more,” Serra stated. “The state case is a heavier case mainly because it is a homicide and a gun. … It is going to be a significant prospective choice on what they’re going to do.”