Kate Steinle’s Killer Walks on Gun Possession Charges

A Court of Appeals in California has overturned the conviction of illegal alien and multiple deportee Jose Inez Garcia Zarate on gun possession charges.

On July 1, 2015 Garcia Zarate picked up a gun he said he found under a park bench. As he picked it up he alleges it went off “accidentally,” ricocheting off a pier and killing Kate Steinle who was walking with her father. After Garcia Zarate was arrested it was learned that he had seven previous felony convictions and had been deported five times since entering the U.S. illegally in 1991.

Four months before the killing Garcia Zarate had been arrested on an outstanding drug charge and incarcerated in the San Francisco County Jail.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a detainer on Garcia Zarate requesting the jail hold him until they could pick him up for deportation. Under San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy and “Due Process for All Ordinance” the jail ignored the detainer and released him.

Garcia Zarate was charged with second degree murder and illegal possession of a firearm.  A jury eventually found him not guilty of murder but guilty of illegally possessing a gun. This was the charge which was overturned in California’s Court of Appeals yesterday. Garcia Zarate’s Court ordered attorneys argued that the Judge presiding over the trial did not instruct the jurors on “momentary possession of a firearm” which is not the same as possession of a firearm. Since Garcia Zarate’s entire defense was based on the fact that he picked up the gun and it immediately went off, they theorized that at least one juror would have might have accepted the definition and found the defendant not guilty.

Though Garcia Zarate is also facing a federal charge of illegal possession of a firearm, based on the first Court of Appeals decision in California, he may well not suffer any consequences for the murder of Kate Steinle and will be let go to reside in sanctuary cities across the country.

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