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Illegal immigrant found not guilty in the death of Kate Steinle

On Thursday, a San Francisco jury found an illegal immigrant not guilty of murder in the Kate Steinle. The jury of six women and six men acquitted 45-year-old Jose Ines Garcia Zarate of murder in the first and second degrees, and the alternate charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Garcia Zarate was convicted on the lesser charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The basic question the jury had to decide was whether Garcia Zarate intentionally and willfully fired the single shot that killed Kate Steinle.

Prosecutors argued that Garcia Zarate fired a handgun deliberately in Steinle's direction, seeking to harm her or others.

The defense argued that the shooting was unintentional, that Garcia Zarate found the gun wrapped in a cloth under his seat at the pier and that it accidentally discharged. Garcia Zarate's attorneys also offered expert witnesses who testified that the bullet ricocheted off of the ground and traveled about 78 feet before striking Steinle.

The jury's decision indicates that it was convinced that the shooting was an accident.

Steinle's family did hear the jury's decision. Before the verdict, they told the San Francisco Chronicle that above all, they were looking forward to no longer being in the spotlight.

"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 Steinle's father, Jim.

After the verdict, Jim Steinle told the Chronicle he was "saddened and shocked."

"There's no other way you can coin it. Justice was rendered, but it was not served," he said.

In a response to the verdict, Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a statement saying that despite California's attempt at a murder conviction, Zarate was able to walk away with only a firearm possession conviction because he was not turned over by San Francisco to ICE.

"When jurisdictions choose to return criminal aliens to the streets rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities, they put the public's safety at risk," the statement said. "San Francisco's decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle."

Sessions continued, "I urge the leaders of the nation's communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers."

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