The brutal killing of Kate Steinle, the 32-year-old woman who was on a walk with her father in the sanctuary city of San Francisco when she was shot and killed by an illegal alien on July 1, 2015, became one of the main crimes often referenced by Donald Trump as he called for a crackdown on illegal immigration and the construction of a wall along the Mexico border.
Now the trial for Steinle’s killer, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 54, has finally begun. Zarate, an illegal alien, had already been deported back to Mexico five times prior to the murder. Additionally, he had just been released from jail three months earlier, but was not deported a sixth time. Instead, authorities had transferred him to San Francisco to face an old drug charge, then city prosecutors dropped the charge and turned him loose without notifying federal agents.
Zarate shot Steinle in the back with a gun he had stolen from the car of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) vehicle four days earlier. He says he shot Steinle by accident.
Monday, the jury began hearing opening arguments in a San Francisco courtroom. The trial is expected to last up to seven weeks, and jurors have been instructed to determine whether Zarate shot Steinle intentionally, or if it was, in fact, an accident.
Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez said during his opening statement that his client hadn’t stolen the gun, but rather found it on the pier, and it went off as he unwrapped the T-shirt.
He showed the jury surveillance video, attempting to prove that someone else could have left the gun where Zarate was sitting and argued that Zarate threw the gun in the water to make it stop firing.
Gonzalez portrayed Zarate as a homeless man who didn’t speak English well and didn’t really understand what was going on.
Two days after the murder, Donald Trump released the following statement: “This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately. This is an absolutely disgraceful situation, and I am the only one that can fix it. Nobody else has the guts to even talk about it. That won’t happen if I become president.”
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