Home / U.S. / Case of Kate Steinle: García Zárate accused by federals while Gascón tears the "crazy man" Trump

Case of Kate Steinle: García Zárate accused by federals while Gascón tears the "crazy man" Trump



San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said on Tuesday that the acquittal of an undocumented immigrant homeless on murder charges and murder in the murder of Kate Steinle was "difficult to receive", but he respected the decision.

To aggravate his frustration with the guilty verdicts, he said, it has been the reaction of the conservative experts and President Trump, who have changed the case against José Inés García. Zárate in a "political football" while pushing an anti-immigration agenda.

"Those who are using this to obtain political benefits, to attack the values ​​of San Francisco and San Francisco, I only say that this is an incredible city," said Gascón. at a press conference. "I defend what this city represents".

Gascón spoke five days after the jury of the Superior Court acquitted García Zárate, 45, of murder, involuntary manslaughter and assault charges on July 1, 2015, murdering at Pier 14 of Steinle, who he was 32.

The case became national news after the revelation that the defendant had been released from the San Francisco jail before the shooting under the sanctuary laws of the city, instead of handing it over to immigration agents for his deportation.

The jury returned a guilty verdict for the minor charge of being a criminal in possession of a firearm. Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez of the Public Defender's Office said he will appeal the conviction after a sentencing hearing on December 14.

Also on Tuesday, a federal grand jury accused Garcia Zarate of being a criminal in possession of a firearm and ammunition and of being an undocumented immigrant in possession of a firearm and ammunition. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison before possible deportation.

Gascon did not hold a press conference immediately after a verdict that Trump attacked on Twitter as a "complete farce of justice." At that time, Gascon said, he was accepting an award from the Southern California Leadership Network at a hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

He said he had also been sensitive to the Steinle family and leery of joining the political storm.

"When you listen to the family they say how painful they are to see the picture of Kate being used for purposes that are so disgraceful, we wanted to be sure that we were not part of her," Gascon said.

The trial confronted prosecutors who said the shooting was intentional against defense lawyers who argued that García Zarate had found the stolen weapon on the dock before it accidentally discharged into his hands.

Critics, including Public Advocate Jeff Adachi, said that Gascón's office overloaded the case. During the trial, prosecutors lobbied during the final pleadings for a conviction for premeditated or first-degree murder, while giving the jury the options for second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

"The prosecution ended up arguing in the first degree, although initially they said it was a second degree," Adachi said after the verdict. "I've never seen that, I think it says a lot about the fact that this case was overcharged."

Gascón denied on Tuesday that his office had overcharged, saying that the assistant prosecutor Diana García presented arguments for homicide in the first and second degrees, as well as homicide. [19659097] "The theory of our case was always a case of implicit malice, which leads to a murder in the second degree," said Gascón. "As the trial progressed and additional evidence was presented, the court agreed that there was sufficient evidence to provide jury instructions on first-degree murder, and we agreed to do so."

A conviction for second degree murder would have required finding that Garcia Zarate intended to kill Steinle or intentionally committed a dangerous act with conscious contempt for human life.

The defendant's immigration record was not part of the trial, but Trump and others continue to use the case to advocate stricter enforcement of immigration.

Media attention swirled around the trial, with a lottery for seats in the courtroom. Gascón blamed Trump for instigating the circus.

"I think sometimes we have to do it, I say it because I include myself, we have to use a bit of discipline and not allow someone who is crazy, who is tweeting, dictate everything," he said.

Evan Sernoffsky is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. Email: esernoffsky@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @EvanSernoffsky


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