Zarate Found Not Guilty of Homicide, Manslaughter in Kate Steinle Murder Trial

kate steinle zarate found not guilty of homicide and manslaughter family speaks

Whatever your thoughts on the trial and verdict, it is clear that if we had a sane policy towards illegal immigration, Kate Steinle would be alive today.

Deepest prayers and sympathies to the Steinle family.

Excerpted from the San Francisco Chronicle:

As they awaited the verdict in the trial of Kate Steinle’s accused killer, her parents and brother had one overriding wish. It had nothing to do with the severity of the defendant’s conviction.

Above all, they wanted it to mark the end of a public profile they neither sought nor enjoyed. Each media interview, each exploitation of Kate’s name for political gain, each still shot of her smile on television only amplified the anguish of their loss. Yet they also wanted to convey their appreciation for the many strangers who, having heard their story, offered solace and assistance.

 “We just want to get this over with and move on with our lives, and think about Kate on our terms. Nothing’s been on our terms. It’s been on everyone else’s terms,” said Jim Steinle, who was strolling with his 32-year-old daughter on a crowded San Francisco pier when she was shot and killed on July 1, 2015. He, his wife, Liz Sullivan, and their son, Brad Steinle, sat down with The Chronicle recently at their longtime East Bay home for an exclusive interview they planned to be their last.

“We have never had a second of anger — not a moment,” Jim said. “Frustration, maybe, and sadness for sure, but no anger and no retaliation or vindictiveness or anything like that. We’re not that kind of people. Even if this guy gets 100 years in prison, it doesn’t solve anything, it doesn’t help anything. We would just like people to know … that’s the Steinles’ feelings.”

They had decided not to attend court to hear the jury’s decision.

On Thursday, the verdict arrived: Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was acquitted of all murder and manslaughter charges. He was convicted merely of possession of a firearm.

“We’re just shocked — saddened and shocked … that’s about it,” Jim said “There’s no other way you can coin it. Justice was rendered, but it was not served.”

Brad said he was “not surprised,” considering the “epic failure” that led Garcia Zarate to be released on the streets, and end up with a loaded handgun on the pier that day.

“I’m stunned that they couldn’t even get him on using the weapon,” Brad said.

And so went the court system’s application of justice in a case that almost instantly became a cause celebre for advocates of a crackdown on illegal immigration. Fox News championed “Kate’s Law” to impose mandatory prison sentences on those who return to the U.S. after deportation. Donald Trump, as candidate and now as president, has routinely cited Kate’s death as justification for building a U.S.-Mexico border wall and punishing sanctuary cities.

The Steinles have a decidedly nuanced view on sanctuary cities. They support the concept as a way to encourage immigrants, regardless of legal status, to come forward as victims or witnesses to crimes without fear of deportation. Yet they believe San Francisco went too far when then-Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi effectively ordered his department to cut off communication with federal immigration authorities.

They also expressed frustration at the sanctimony and stubbornness of San Francisco politicians. In response to the outrage over Kate’s killing, the city modified its sanctuary policy only slightly, allowing notification of federal immigration authorities only when a person convicted of certain violent crimes is about to be released.

The bottom line: An undocumented immigrant with Garcia Zarate’s exact criminal history still could be released from jail to the streets without a call to alert Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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