San Francisco Kate Steinle Shooting
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, right, is led into the courtroom by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, left, and Assistant District Attorney Diana Garciaor, center, for his arraignment in San Francisco, July 7, 2015. A California federal judge on Monday, June 6, 2022, sentenced the Mexican national who shot a woman along a San Francisco pier to the seven years he's already spent in jail. (Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, Pool, File)
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From the AP . . .

A California federal judge on Monday sentenced the Mexican man acquitted of murder in the 2015 shooting death of a woman on a San Francisco pier to the seven years he’s already spent in jail — bringing to a legal close the case that ignited a national firestorm over immigration, crime and sanctuary cities.

Jose Inez Garcia Zarate was in the U.S. illegally when Kate Steinle, 32, was fatally shot along a crowded Pier 14 where she was walking with her father and a family friend. He faces deportation and U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria told him in court to never return to the U.S.

The shooting shocked a country already divided over immigration and fueled Donald Trump’s successful campaign for president. Trump called for a crackdown on unlawful immigration and the sanctuary cities and states — including San Francisco and California — that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Garcia Zarate admitted firing the gun on July 4, 2015, but said he found it under a bench and didn’t know what it was when he picked it up because it was wrapped in a T-shirt. The gun fired accidentally after he picked it up, he said. Officials said the bullet ricocheted off the ground and hit Steinle.

He was acquitted of homicide charges by a San Francisco jury in 2017 but faced firearms charges in federal court. In March, he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and a person illegally in the country in possession of a firearm.

“If you return to this country again and you are back in front of me, I will not spare you. Let this be your last warning: do not return to this country,” Chhabria said before sentencing Garcia Zarate to the time he has already served.

Chhabria also delivered a harsh rebuke of the mental health treatment received by Garcia Zarate for his schizophrenia while in custody, which the judge said was virtually nonexistent.

Garcia Zarate will be sent to Texas, where he faces a federal judge for failing to report his location when he was released from a San Francisco jail shortly before the shooting. He had been deported five times and was on track to be removed from the U.S. again when he shot Steinle.

The maximum sentence on the firearms charges was 10 years. Prosecutors agreed to the sentence of time served plus three years of probation. Garcia Zarate’s lawyers wanted a shorter sentence so he could apply any time left over in case the judge in Texas imposes additional prison time.

The handgun belonged to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger who reported it stolen from his parked car a week before Steinle was killed.

Before the killing, Garcia Zarate had recently completed a prison sentence for illegal re-entry to the U.S. when he was transferred to San Francisco to face a 20-year-old marijuana charge.

Prosecutors declined the case, but the San Francisco sheriff released him from jail despite a federal immigration request to detain him for at least two more days for deportation.

Garcia Zarate “feels horrible about what happened, and that he’s very sorry and apologizes,” his lawyer, Mike Hinckley, said in court Monday.

Flowers and a portrait of Kate Steinle at a memorial site on Pier 14 in San Francisco. (Paul Chinn/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)

The judge said he does not believe that prosecutors proved that Garcia Zarate had acted with criminal recklessness in the shooting and that he likely did not understand what was happening that day when he killed Steinle, because of his mental health illness.

Chhabria also expressed sympathy for Garcia Zarate, who spent most of his seven years in county jail without medication or meaningful treatment.

Two doctors diagnosed Garcia Zarate with schizophrenia and found him unfit to stand trial because he could not follow the court proceedings.

“That must have been hell,” Chhabria said.

But the judge also said that consequences matter and that Garcia Zarate admitted being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Steinle’s relatives were not present in court for the sentencing and prosecutors said her family did not want to participate in the proceedings.

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    • Yeah into the American motherland.

      Any bets – deported or awarded citizenship by Obiden (with time served counting). With an Obama phone and unlimited welfare.

  1. Fyck this guy. Death penalty. He said he was shooting at seals with the gun, before the whole he found it wrapped in a t-shirt story. This is from what I remember the news reporting, either way he needs to be put down for good.

  2. This is just one more of countless examples where our omniscient, omnipotent, and all-benevolent government Almighty failed to do their job (protecting the U.S. border) which resulted in a personal catastrophe for one or more U.S. citizens.

    Of course our government Almighty is nothing more than a bunch of government employees who are people with all of the weaknesses, foibles, and failings of the human condition. What really surprises me is how many people continue to have absolute faith in government.

    • @u_s

      I have absolute faith that most Gov’t Agencies and their employees can F’up a steel mill ball with a rubber hammer…and then blame gunz, radical right, mental health, whiteness, maleness, intolerance, political affiliation, equality, equity, work environment, COVID, etc for their failures.

      • Old Guy in Montana,

        I have absolute faith that most Gov’t Agencies and their employees can F’up a steel mill ball with a rubber hammer…

        Ha ha–that was funny! Now THAT is well-placed absolute faith.

  3. I see absolutely nothing here that justifies any ban on any AR15 or 30 round magazine.

    • According to Democrat logic: But but but but the logic here is obvious as to what needs to be done …two doctors diagnosed Garcia Zarate with schizophrenia and supposedly unable to understand right from wrong in following along with his case, he was in the country illegally, has been deported five times previous, was a felon in possession of a stolen gun, and shot and killed a woman with a gun that just went off by its self ….. and that’s the fault of a gun and gun owners so its only fair and just to blame guns and gun owners and its ‘common sense’ that a semi-auto rifle and 30 magazine ban will stop all that from happening.

      I’ll bet he’s back in the U.S. within 30 days of being deported.

  4. Time served, he learned his lesson. He should be returned to Mexico via a trebuchet, over the wall.

      • Possum’s right. That is funny. Any chance of infecting him with bubonic plague first? He would then be a problem for another medical care system. Of course, the impact after being launched from a catapult may solve everything.

  5. On July 25, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Chabria to serve as a United States District Judge. Any more comments?

  6. How cute.

    “Unable to follow court proceedings.”

    If you have two teams of lawyers going at it in a courtroom, most people don’t know enough legalese to fully understand the proceedings, and it doesn’t get them off when they’re on trial.

    However, sending him back to Mexico is a great idea too, IF they actually do send him back to Mexico.

    • On a one way plane ride. Dropped from 9,000 feet with no parachute. Gerrooooniiiiimooo Splat!!!

  7. If this person does come back into the US, he should be shot on sight. If he is so mentally ill he does not understand a firearm might be loaded, or dangerous in misused, he is too mentally incompetent to allow to run free.
    I have no problem with people who want to come here seeking a better chance in life. But, just as my Grand Parents did, do so legally. Anything else is an insult to our laws and to all those who did follow the law. 7 years for negligent homicide is about right, With another 10 years added for both being here illegally and a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. So, he owes another 10 to 20 years.
    commit murder by intent( 1st. degree murder) death penalty. along with rape and child molestation. Also, kill someone during the commission of another felony crime, again, death sentence. Accidental, or negligent homicide with any weapon, gun, knife hammer, etc. 10 years minimum. vehicular homicide due to drunk, drugged or distracted driving. 10 years.
    Get caught in the country illegally? Immediate deportation to your home country. No exceptions. Hire anyone in the country illegally? 5grand fine for each person hired and loss of any and all business licenses. Do so as a private citizen, same fine and up to 5 years in prison. Use of a firearm to commit a felony, no one injured/killed? Minimum 10 years at hard labor. Add another 10 years if felon in possession.
    Any other violent crime, gets a minimum of 5 years.
    Simple theft over 200 bucks, or other property crimes gets 5 years minimum and double the amount of the property stolen or damaged plus court costs as reparation.
    Simple possession of illegal drugs, $500.00 per gram and if not able to pay, 5 months in county jail. Possession with intent to sell, deliver, distribute, double fine and same time.
    GTA or other higher value property crimes 5 year minimum and 20 maximum, depending on both previous record and value of property.
    While not all inclusive, this would be a start.

  8. “Garcia Zarate ‘feels horrible about what happened, and that he’s very sorry and apologizes,’ his lawyer, Mike Hinckley, said”

    Hahahahahahahahah. I nominate Mike Hinckley for Comedian of the Year. He deserves an HBO special.

  9. The real injustice in this case is that the prosecutors allowed the defense to put forward their fabricated contention that the P239 used in this crime had a “hair trigger”. The prosecution could have brought any Federal agent, police firearms expert or recognized gun expert to the stand to refute this nonsense. Like any other Sig P-series model, this gun would have a 10-11 lb. double action pull and a 5-7 lb. single action pull, hardly a “hair trigger”. No Federal officer would be stupid enough to fiddle with the trigger on his service piece and they could have even put the officer who had the gun stolen on the stand. Through either negligence or incompetence, they let this idiotic defense stand.

  10. The whole story line sickens me and unfortunately, just par for the course these days. If they actually manage to deport this, he’ll be back to vote within 30 days.

  11. All of my family came over legally
    Our Golden Retriever, Becker was picked up stay, just across the border from Mexico-Texas
    We are pretty sure he’s undocumented dog but we got him from Gold Ribbon Rescue out of Austin Texas.
    Becker is a good boy so we were foster failure and adopted him
    I don’t buy anything that cretin says.
    This is Texas “you kill one us, we kill you back”

  12. if more crime in california is your goal
    this is one of the things you would do

    • Well at least some of the people in California are waking up. San Fransisco voters (61%) recalled Chesa Boudin. The ultra soft on crime DA who refused to prosecute many criminals or reduced the charges to misdemeanors. So they would spend little or no time in jail.

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