Jury in Kate Steinle murder trial goes home for Thanksgiving without verdict

SAN FRANCISCO — There won’t be a verdict until next week at the earliest in the closely watched trial of the undocumented immigrant accused of shooting and killing Pleasanton native Kate Steinle.

The 12-person jury finished their second day of deliberations on Wednesday afternoon without coming to a verdict. They’ll return to court after Thanksgiving on Monday morning.

Defendant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate is accused of gunning down 32-year-old Steinle on a pier in San Francisco’s Embarcadero neighborhood.

The July 2015 shooting attracted national attention, with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and others blaming San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy for Steinle’s death. Garcia Zarate, 54, had been deported five times but was released from a San Francisco jail instead of being sent back to his native Mexico.

But lawyers on both sides of the case have worked to keep discussions of politics and immigration out of the courtroom during the four-week trial, focusing instead on more down-to-earth matters of bullet trajectories, gunshot residue and security video analysis.

The prosecution argues that Garcia Zarate intentionally aimed a gun toward Steinle and fired at her, before throwing the weapon into the water and running away. The defense paints the shooting as a freak accident, arguing that the gun accidentally discharged and the bullet ricocheted on the concrete pier before hitting Steinle.

Garcia Zarate could be convicted of first- or second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter, and the jury will also decide on charges of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

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Source:: The Mercury News

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