Before the presidential campaign of 2016, few people outside of the San Francisco Bay area had ever heard of Kate Steinle or Jose Ines Garcia Zarate. When then-candidate Trump shown a bright light on the problem of illegal immigration and so-called sanctuary cities a heated national debate ensued over the status of illegals who commit violent crimes.
When Zarte was arrested for the shooting of Kate Steinle, it is likely many conservatives breathed a silent prayer of thanks that such a man had been apprehended. All that changed this week when a San Francisco jury declared Zarte not guilty on the charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and involuntary manslaughter. He also was found not guilty of assault with a semi-automatic weapon. His only conviction? Possession of a firearm by a felon. The jury had deliberated for six days.
On that fateful day in June 2015, Stienle strolled with her father along the pier when she was struck by a ricocheting 40 calibre bullet. She collapsed into her father’s arms and died less than two hours later.
The senseless death of anyone is a tragic thing but the story of Kate’s murder makes it all the worse. Her shooter never denied he was carrying a stolen weapon or that he shot Kate Steinle.
The defendant admitted he shot her but the jury still acquitted him. As outrageous as the outcome of this trial is that is what the state of California has determined. We may never understand why the jury acquitted Mr. Zarate but there are a few things we know for certain:
- Jose Ines Garcia Zarate had already been deported five times and then reentered the country illegally.
- He had served a nearly four-year term for felony entry in the U.S.
- He had just recently served three months in the San Francisco jail for possession of marijuana.
- San Francisco refused to hold Zarate for Immigration but rather released him on the streets.
- A 32-year-old woman died in her father’s arms.
One ray of hope in this dark tale is that Kate Steinle’s death will remind people that, though it is often ridiculed, President Trump’s commitment to build a wall and deport every illegal who commits a crime must be allowed to proceed.
Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Matt Salmon championed a piece of legislation named by many, Kate’s Law. In the hands of diligent local officials and law enforcement the enhanced penalties it allows for convicted and deported criminals who reenter the United States illegally would be a good step. The bill died in the House in 2016 but now has been passed by the 2017 Congress.
Immediately following the verdict U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced: “Following the conclusion of this case, ICE will work to take custody of Mr. Garcia Zarate and ultimately remove him from the country.”
Tom Homan, Deputy Director of ICE said, “San Francisco’s policy of refusing to honor ICE detainers is a blatant threat to public safety and undermines the rule of law. This tragedy could have been prevented if San Francisco had turned the alien over to ICE, as we requested, instead of releasing him back onto the streets.”
Lead defense attorney Matt Gonzalez responded to criticism of the verdict by reminding Vice President Pence, Attorney General Sessions, and President Trump that here is an ongoing investigation into collusion between the Russians government and the Trump campaign team. In a released statement he sought to remind those men that they may soon avail themselves of the presumption of innocence and beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard.”
The truth is that after nearly a year of investigations. Robert Mueller has managed one guilty plea and that to something that has nothing to do with collusion. The jury is out on whether President Trump did anything wrong or illegal and a jury in San Francisco has declared Garcia Zarate not guilty in a legal court of law.
While many conservatives are incensed at the verdict and wonder if justice remains when a vibrant young woman is dead and her killer goes free. But the matter is not settled. Garcia Zarate will be taken into custody by federal officials and will be escorted to the border. Hopefully, he is not allowed to cross back for a seventh time.
Rep. Steve King said of the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act: “Kate Steinle. She was murdered by an illegal immigrant who was deported … kept coming back to San Francisco because he knew it was a sanctuary city. Kate Steinle now rests in her grave, and America feels her pain.”
~ American Liberty Report