A San Francisco jury returned a verdict of not guilty for an illegal alien who was charged in the killing of Kate Steinle, the case that President Trump took up as a symbol of a broken immigration system during his 2016 campaign.
Why did they find him not guilty?
The defense claimed that Jose Ines Garcia Zarate did not intend to kill Steinle, and that the gun went off by itself when he picked it up.
The gun had been stolen from a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger a week prior to the shooting – Zarate claimed he had found it on the ground when it went off.
The prosecution argued that he he purposely shot the gun at Steinle, who was walking the pier with her father. They claimed Zarate had been “playing his own secret version of Russian roulette.”
The jury had deliberated for six days before returning the verdict Thursday.
Will he be deported?
It is very likely that he will be deported. He was found guilty of felony possession of a weapon, and had been deported before many times.
What was the reaction?
Many right-wing figures were outraged at the verdict:
According to ABC News, the jury could have chosen a lesser charge to find Zarate guilty of, and chose not to.
The jury had a number of choices to make. They could have gone with a second degree verdict, involuntary manslaughter or consider a first degree murder verdict.
They were possibly persuaded by Zarate’s claim that the death was accidental after the gun went off accidentally and ricocheted off the cement. The prosecution claimed that he aimed the gun straight at Steinle, but that owing to his inexperience, the bullet ricocheted and hit Steinle anyway.
Immigration officials say they will deport Zarate to Mexico.