Illegal immigrant acquitted in Kate Steinle trial to face federal firearm charges

Federal officials file new charges against man acquitted in Kate Steinle case

Mexican man acquitted in fatal shooting of Katie Steinle last week faces new federal gun charges

A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted the illegal immigrant killer of Kate Steinle on gun charges.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate never should have been in San Francisco, let alone protected by that jurisdiction.

A San Francisco jury last week convicted him of a state charge of felon in possession of a firearm after acquitting him of murder and assault for the July 1, 2015 shooting.

Zarate faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on each charge if he is convicted at trial, although federal sentencing guidelines typically call for less time behind bars. He has been in jail since the day of the shooting.

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Defense lawyers for Garcia Zarate said Monday they will appeal the state charge for which he was convicted. Garcia Zarate is to be sentenced in state court December 14.

George Gascón, district attorney for the city and county of San Francisco, would not comment on the developments but talked to reporters about the recent trial. The defense said the weapon went off by accident, and the bullet ricocheted off the ground and traveled about 80 feet before hitting Steinle.

Zarate was acquitted of first and second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter on Thursday.

Jurors left court last week without speaking publicly about their verdict and Gascon said they have not spoken with prosecutors either.

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Jurors were asked to determine whether Garcia Zarate intentionally opened fire on a crowd at Pier 14 or whether the.40-caliber handgun he was holding accidentally discharged.

The case sparked a national debate over illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.

Before the shooting Garcia Zarate, who had been deported to Mexico five times, had been released from a San Francisco jail despite a request by immigration authorities that he be detained and turned over to them.

Steinle's father, Jim Steinle, said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle that the verdict had "saddened and shocked" the family.

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