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Federal officials file new charges against man acquitted in Kate Steinle case

06 December 2017

Garcia Zarate has been indicted on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and for being an illegally present alien on possession of a firearm.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was indicted by a grand juryon two federal gun charges less than a week after he was acquitted of murder in the fatal shooting of Katie Steinle.

. The Mexican national was released from a San Francisco jail prior to the killing of Steinle, which led to a national outrage over sanctuary cities.

Immigration officials have said they want to deport him.

The statement was signed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Attorney Brian Stretch and Jill Snyder, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. If convicted of the charges, the 47-year-old Garcia Zarate faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

His public defender Matt Gonzalez said Garcia Zarate will ask a judge to toss out the state conviction.

Garcia Zarate said a gun he found accidentally fired when he picked it up.

Flowers and a portrait of Kate Steinle are displayed at a memorial site on Pier 14 on July 17, 2015, in San Francisco, Calif.

George Gascón, district attorney for the city and county of San Francisco, would not comment on the developments but talked to reporters about the recent trial. "We believe this was a homicide", said at a news conference Tuesday.

President Trump also chimed in, tweeting, "A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case!"

Garcia Zarate had been deported five times before the 2015 shooting.

Officials say that the indictment "merely alleges that a crime has been committed and that Zarate is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt". The defense said the weapon went off by accident, and the bullet ricocheted off the ground and traveled about 80 feet before hitting Steinle.

Jurors could also have convicted Garcia Zarate of second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter but chose not to.

The jury deliberated for six days before issuing its decision.

Federal officials file new charges against man acquitted in Kate Steinle case