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Federal Grand Jury Indicts Steinle Killer
06 December 2017, 09:58 | Kelvin Horton
Mexican man acquitted in fatal shooting of Katie Steinle last week faces new federal gun charges
Last week a San Francisco jury found Garcia Zarate, 45, not guilty of murdering the 32-year-old Kate Steinle as she was walking along a city pier two years ago.
If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in a federal prison, according to the Department of Justice. Prosecutors claimed Zarate had intentionally fired the gun.
Public defender Matt Gonzalez said someone else had wrapped the weapon in a T-shirt and left it under the bench at the pier, where Garcia Zarate, who had been living on the streets since his release, stumbled upon it.
CNN reached out to Garcia Zarate's attorneys on Tuesday but didn't receive an immediate response.
Defense attorneys for Garcia Zarate argued the gun, which had been stolen from the auto of a Bureau of Land Management ranger, was accidentally fired by Garcia Zarate.
That case drew national attention after then-candidate Donald Trump raised it as a justification for his proposed crackdown on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.
Citing ongoing litigation, Gascón refrained from discussing details on the case and took responsibility for any failure to prepare for the case and the concluding not guilty verdict. He said he still believed Garcia Zarate should have been convicted of Steinle's murder.
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.
Gascon also criticized President Trump and conservative pundits for turning the trial into a "political football".
Legal experts have said prosecutors overreached by asking for a first-degree murder conviction because the fatal shot ricocheted off the ground, supporting Garcia Zarate's defense that the shooting was an accident.
The jury deliberated for six days before issuing its decision.
Sessions slammed the verdict Friday, telling Fox News that "it's time for this country to get its head on straight" because sanctuary cities like San Francisco "should not be protecting criminal aliens".
A jury rejected that charge last week and convicted Garcia Zarate only of being a felon in possession of a gun.
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