SF Jury Acquits Defendant in Sanctuary Murder Case Trump Campaigned On

A San Francisco jury has acquitted an undocumented immigrant of murder and manslaughter charges in the shooting death of a Bay Area woman, a case that was seized on by then-presidential candidate Donald Trump as evidence of the need for tighter immigration controls.

Jurors acquitted Garcia Zarate, 45, a Mexican citizen, of all charges in the death of Kate Steinle, 32, on July 1, 2015, except being a felon in possession of a gun, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Zarate had been released by San Francisco authorities days before the shooting, despite a request by federal agents that he be held for his sixth deportation.

San Francisco and other so-called sanctuary cities refuse to allow their local public safety personnel to cooperate with federal immigration authorities except under very specific circumstances.

Trump seized on the killing as evidence of the risks posed by allowing undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. He mentioned the case often in speeches during the campaign, and in his convention acceptance speech.

Steinle was struck by a bullet in the back as she walked on a pier with her father. Jurors apparently agreed with the defense's argument that the bullet had ricocheted off of the concrete pier. The gun had been stolen from a park ranger's car a few days earlier.

Zarate remains in custody pending sentencing on the gun charge.

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