Illegal Immigrant Gets Time Served for 2015 Killing of Kate Steinle
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: A phalanx of Metropolitan Police Department officers create a barrier around white nationalists and neo-Nazis as they rally in front of the White House December 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. The facists held an anti-immigration rally in response to this week's acquittal of an undocumented Mexican immigrant in the 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Monday, the illegal immigrant acquitted for the 2015 murder of 32-year-old Californian Kate Steinle was sentenced to the seven years’ jail time he’d already served.

The illegal immigrant, Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate, was found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm. That charge carried a maximum 10-year sentence and three years of supervised release. He will be sent to Texas for another hearing with a federal judge in the Texas Western District Court to address a prior case concerning his illegal status.

AP News reported that, when issuing Monday’s verdict, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria warned Garcia-Zarate against returning to the U.S. Prior to the 2015 killing, Garcia-Zarate was deported five times and on a federal supervised release from a 2011 Texas conviction pertaining to his illegal re-entry in 2009.

“If you return to this country again and you are back in front of me, I will not spare you,” said Chhabria. “Let this be your last warning: do not return to this country.

Garcia-Zarate ended up in California in 2015 after Texas authorities transferred him there to face a marijuana charge. Prosecutors dropped the charge against Garcia-Zarate and former San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s office released him early per the city’s sanctuary policy, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Shortly after, Garcia-Zarate discovered the firearm that would kill Steinle: a semi-automatic pistol wrapped in cloth under a pier bench. When Garcia-Zarate fired the pistol, the bullet ricocheted off the ground and into Steinle’s back. She died from the gunshot wound two hours later. Garcia-Zarate claimed in court proceedings that he didn’t know he was holding a gun and that he fired it unintentionally.

Breitbart reporter Kristina Wong shared that she knew one of the nurses who attempted to save Steinle. According to Wong, that experience was enough to shift the unidentified nurse’s perspective on illegal immigrants.

AP News reported that Garcia-Zarate’s lawyer, Mike Hinckley, said during Monday’s verdict that Garcia-Zarate “feels horrible” about Steinle’s death and remains “very sorry.” Chhabria speculated that Garcia-Zarate must have endured “hell,” reflecting on a disclosure that doctors diagnosed Garcia-Zarate with schizophrenia, rendering him unfit to stand trial.

According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release in mid-March, Garcia-Zarate pled guilty to being an illegal immigrant and a felon in possession of a firearm. A jury acquitted Garcia-Zarate of murder and involuntary manslaughter in 2017, but found him guilty of felony possession of a firearm.

The killing and subsequent acquittal prompted former President Donald Trump to rail against the weakness of immigration policy. Trump blamed sanctuary city policies for the tragedy and pushed harder on his agenda to finish building the southern border wall, calling the verdict “disgraceful.”


Steinle’s parents sued the city of San Francisco for failing to hold Garcia-Zarate for deportation proceedings; that lawsuit was dismissed. They also sued the U.S. government for negligence, since the semi-automatic pistol fired by Garcia-Zarate came from the unlocked SUV of a federal park ranger. That lawsuit was dismissed as well.

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