Authorities file new charges against undocumented immigrant acquitted in Steinle case

Authorities file new charges against undocumented immigrant acquitted in Steinle case

Officials filed new immigration and gun charges against Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, just days after he was acquitted of murder and manslaughter in the Steinle case.

Garcia Zarate was homeless when he found an object wrapped in a T-shirt under a bench on a San Francisco pier that turned out to be gun.

He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for each charge, according to the USA attorney's announcement. Garcia Zarate is to be sentenced in state court December 14.

The killing of Steinle became linked with the controversy over illegal immigration, and President Donald Trump referred to the case in pushing for stricter policies and in criticizing so-called "sanctuary cities".

The federal charges were announced through a news release from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Attorney from the Northern District of California Brian Stretch and Jill Snyder, a special agent in charge at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. He was indicted on one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and being an illegally present alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said the jury's decision was "hard to receive".

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Zarate was acquitted of first and second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter on Thursday.

The 47-year-old said the firearm accidentally fired when he picked it up, and the bullet ricocheted off the ground before it struck Steinle, a 32-year-old medical device saleswoman.

Months before Kate Steinle's murder, San Francisco authorities released Jose Zarate from custody, ignoring a request from federal authorities to turn him over to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

Gascón called out Trump, saying that "we shouldn't allow a madman that is tweeting dictate everything we do" when talking about the influence politics has had on the Steinle trial. The case sparked a national debate over illegal immigration and sanctuary cities. The gun, a Sig Sauer P239 semiautomatic pistol, was stolen from an unlocked auto of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger, authorities said.

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