Court Overturns Sole Conviction For Kate Steinle's Killer

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate had his sole conviction overturned by a California appeals court.

San Francisco, CA - A California appeals court has cleared Kate Steinle's killer of the only charge he was convicted of.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was sentenced in January 2018 for being a felon in possession of a firearm, the only charge that he was convicted of after he used a stolen gun to fatally shoot Kate Steinle.

The judge sentenced him to time served, which means that the judge already credited him with having served enough jail time pre-sentencing, according to KCBS.

There were essentially no consequences for his sole criminal conviction.

Despite the minor sentence, Garcia Zarate's attorneys claimed that he never actually possessed the weapon in a legal sense when he fired it then threw it in the ocean, according to San Francisco Chronicle.

The 1st District Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the conviction should be overturned because the judge did not give the jury proper instructions on the possession charge, according to NPR.

"It is undisputed that defendant was holding the gun when it fired. But that fact alone does not establish he possessed the gun for more than a moment. To possess the gun, defendant had to know he was holding it," the court ruled as it overturned the conviction.

The request reflected the opinion of at least one juror on the Steinle case who spoke out afterwards.

A member of the jury that acquitted Kate Steinle’s murderer in November 2017 said he felt the 2015 shooting was just “a freak accident.”

The unnamed juror said he decided to speak out after he witnessed backlash from critics who used Steinle’s death as an example of why tougher immigration policies are warranted, KNTV reported.

“If I was not a juror on this trial, I would probably think the same way: ‘Why did you let him go free?’” the juror said.

“But again, the reason is, they could not prove to us that he intentionally killed her. And through all the evidence, I really think that it was a freak accident,” he said.

Steinle, 32, was fatally shot in the back in July of 2015 as she walked down Pier 14 in San Francisco with her father.

The .40 caliber bullet ripped through her abdominal aorta.

Garcia Zarate is an illegal alien who had been deported five times prior to shooting Steinle.

A jury found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate guilty of one count of felony possession of a firearm, but acquitted him for the murder or involuntary manslaughter of Steinle, even though he admitted to firing the fatal shot.

The verdict infuriated many people who believed it was a clear-cut murder case.

But the juror told KNTV that the jury quickly disregarded the options of first and second degree murder, and instead deliberated over the manslaughter charge.

The problem, he said, centered on the word “brandishing,” and whether or not Garcia Zarate displayed the weapon in an aggressive manner.

Although Garcia Zarate fired the gun and killed Steinle, the juror claimed that the prosecution did not prove that Garcia Zarate was threatening anyone with a gun.

“During the trial they could not prove that," he said. "All the videos we saw never, not even one video showed that he was pointing the gun at her. So I think it was very weak."

Prosecutors said that Garcia Zarate was playing his own "secret version of Russian roulette" as he deliberately fired into a crowd with a stolen firearm.

Garcia Zarate admitted to police that he had fired the gun, but claimed that he was aiming at a seal.

In different accounts, he also claimed that he had found the gun wrapped up in a cloth and that it accidentally discharged as he unwrapped it.

Garcia Zarate also admitted to tossing the gun in the bay after the shooting, but said he had thrown it away “to stop it from continuing to shoot," his defense attorneys said - as if guns are capable of firing on their own.

The juror said he actually found the “gun wrapped in a rag” excuse to be plausible.

“I truly believe him,” he told KNTV.

However, the double-action trigger on the Sig Sauer P239 pistol requires a significant amount of force to fire, and accidentally brushing the trigger is unlikely to cause any movement on the trigger.

The juror said the jury also initially struggled to convict Garcia Zarate on the weapon possession charge.

“I was kind of in doubt,” the juror said. “What do they mean by possession? Means like you had the thing for a long time? If you touch it?"

The jury eventually convicted Garcia Zarate on the single count, and the juror said he has no regrets about letting Steinle’s killer off on the murder charges.

"I am comfortable with my decision," the juror said. "I can put my head on a pillow and sleep well thinking that I made the right decision."

Although the juror did not comment on the tragic loss of Steinle, or the toll the trial likely took on Steinle’s friends and family, he complained about the hardships he suffered as a juror.

"It was very hard on me," he told KNTV. "When we finished the trial, I left the court, walking to my car, I was in tears. Because I felt the pressure coming off my back. Because I could talk to people then. I was in tears."

It's not clear if any of the jurors had ever seen a gun before.

Garcia Zarate's attorneys claimed Judge Samuel Feng failed to explain to the jury that momentary possession of a weapon is not necessarily a crime if a person only seeks to dispose of it and does not intend to keep law enforcement from seizing it.

“The court has misdirected the jury in a matter of law,” wrote Matt Gonzalez, lead defense attorney.

After his acquittal, a federal grand jury indicted Garcia Zarate on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and of being an undocumented immigrant in possession of a gun and ammunition. He remains in federal custody, and if convicted on federal charges, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison before his potential sixth deportation.

The federal warrant stated that Garcia Zarate violated his supervised release on a federal sentence for illegally re-entering the United States by possessing the gun that killed Kate Steinle on July 1, 2015.

On May 12, 2011, Garcia Zarate was sentenced to 46 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for illegally re-entering the United States, according to CBS News.

President Trump called Garcia Zarate's acquittal for Steinle's murder a "complete travesty of justice," and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanded cities like San Francisco scrap immigration policies barring cooperation with federal agents.

Despite the outrage over Garcia Zarate's acquittal, San Francisco city officials vowed to stand by their sanctuary city policies.

Those policies had allowed Garcia Zarate to be released from jail prior to Steinle's murder despite a federal request to detain him for deportation issued several weeks earlier.

Comments (73)
No. 1-36
Angry Curmdgeon
Angry Curmdgeon

Build the wall. From the California/Nevada border north till you seal of California, Oregon, and Washington State from the rest of the United States. We don't need their feces filled streets, their beloved raping and murdering illegal immigrants, and the rest of their loony tune left wing ideas.

LynnSB
LynnSB

Every one involved in clearing this POS should be put on a raft and left on a deserted Island with No provisions -- You absolute POS !!!!

Excalibr4
Excalibr4

Just when I think things can't get any crazier...

GregoryThomas
GregoryThomas

Any good people left in the state of California need to leave...then we eject them from the United States...they can support themselves and deal with their own criminals...and their "citizens" can NEVER re-enter the US again.

Shastabeau
Shastabeau

He had to know he had posession of the gun? What the f#ck does that mean? He damned well pulled the trigger! 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

Anomie88
Anomie88

Disgusting. Deplorable. As Democrats like to say, "No one is above the law." Unless, of course you are a serial illegal alien who shot a gun that killed an American citizen. Then, of course, it's okay.

HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

Holy shit!? I’m at a loss for words at the excuses.... fucking ridiculous.

RetSgt
RetSgt

You CANNOT trust juries. If, by some ungodly chance I was arrested, I would go for trial by judge only, at least they know (or should know), the law.

cspcapt
cspcapt

He held the gun. Fired the gun Possessed the gun in his hand. Accident BS I hope the judge and jury experience CD e the same kind of justice

BulletMagnetEd
BulletMagnetEd

Just when you thought the Kate Steinle murder case couldn’t get more insane, the CA court system says, “Hold my free-range, almond-milk-infused soy latte.” CA needs to be spun off into its own Third World country.

unholyone
unholyone

To add insult to injury, the courts ruled the Steinles can't sue the city and/or state for being a sanctuary city and releasing this POS (I apologize to feces) on the streets when he was/is clearly a threat to the public and not allowing ICE to grab him. Kate would have been alive now.

Jngbrooks
Jngbrooks

The fact is that people with these insane ideas and policies keep being elected. The only way o reverse this is to elect common sense.

Kmcwilliams116
Kmcwilliams116

Another Sanctuary City 🤬 What else needs to be said ! pos

gfc1963
gfc1963

Deported FIVE times and he is still free??!! Simply unblievable!!

Wish505
Wish505

I pray that street justice is prevailing on this issue after the POS is set walking.

Vrodgirl
Vrodgirl

I am ashamed to say I live in this so called state and can't wait to get out of it.

Stanracer
Stanracer

Another example for why I have never believed in the jury system.

Flynguy
Flynguy

Well now, time for Zarate’s American lawyers to sue San Francisco, Kate’s dad and while they’re at it, sue me too. How about 10,000,000 for the poor wetback? This country is a god damned joke. The end is near for this once great nation. I hope I’m still young enough to help exterminate the vermin that plagues it.

Flynguy
Flynguy

Zarate also admitted to tossing the gun in the bay after the shooting, but said he had thrown it away “to stop it from continuing to shoot," his defense attorneys said. Unbefuckinglievable! An absolute atrocity of justice. Why have any laws when slimeball lawyers create ways around them?

Squished.quail
Squished.quail

If I were rich I would put bounties on this Jury's heads. Just for legal clarification, I am broke.

usac95
usac95

illegal immigrant the future of the USA citizen in California the most corrupt government scum bag liberals

joaquinradioman
joaquinradioman

Way to go California...Not only home to idiots like “Mad” Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, and left wing nut job celebrities, but also judges who don’t give a crap unless you’re an illegal...I take solace though in seeing that he’ll remain in federal custody and faces 10 years in prison

Woobie46
Woobie46

He needs to be hunted.

Woobie46
Woobie46

And, I hope that in some way the President can do something...I have no idea what, but maybe make SCOTUS do something flashy.

Ibcynthy
Ibcynthy

What this says is, “move to Califucknia and you will get away with murder”!

Bstn
Bstn

Wow..just WOW!! Im sorry but he claims he foud the gun, he knows as a felon he cant play with guns but he decided instead of standing guard over gun & calling cops to come get it, he decides to pick it up & "shoot a seal" but also when he "pucked it up it accidentally went off" Come on SF Citizens on this jury you didnt catch all his BS excuses? No it was not murder but clearing him of manslaughter was wrong! Had he been a US citizen Im thinking the outcome of the trial would be manslaughter charge! My heart goes out to her family. .what a slap in the face!!

JDS
JDS

Time to out this wetback. Publish his address. Let nature take care of the rest.

Tom1
Tom1

Being here illegally means he was committing a crime at the time. If someone dies of a heart attack while you are robbing the store they are in you get charged with murder, None of the rest should matter. She died while he was breaking the law. And him admitting it makes it a slam dunk. Why does everyone keep missing the part where these people are criminals? All other arguments are pointless. You break the law you pay the penalty, period. The rest is just noise. Until (if) they change the law they are just criminals. If someone rapes/murders your wife/ daughter do you really care that he didn't have enough toothpaste today?

George ziegler
George ziegler

Justice just isn't justice anymore. I'm sorry for Kate's family.

Marxest
Marxest

I'm absolutely beside myself. Reading that article was like taking a trip to some far away fantastical place where law simply doesn't apply. Mr Zarate has essentially been vindicated on the state level of a crime that he basically admitted to. He may not have the intention of murdering her, but his actions did lead to that poor woman's death. My heart aches for Kate Steinle's family. The agony of knowing that the person who killed your loved one was acquitted of the crime is just as bad as the pain and loss from the killing itself. I can only pray for them.

Sivaas_
Sivaas_

"...as he deliberately fired into a crowd..."

Piss on the judge, the defense attorneys, the jurors and the San Francisco city officials.

robert8288
robert8288

Judge should be looked at

robert8288
robert8288

DEMOCRAT judge ?

tfort
tfort

The jury saw all the evidence and we didn’t. We have to trust their decision. No of us were their or on the jury.

It’s terrible she was killed, but it was an accidental shooting.

50wt
50wt

They should have hung him, then let a Judge overturn that.

Cops kid
Cops kid

Send him back again !!! In a box