The Case of the Illegal Immigrant Who Killed Kate Steinle Just Got Even More Infuriating

The case of an illegal immigrant who shot and killed Kate Steinle in San Francisco just got even more infuriating.

As you probably know, Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate was acquitted on murder charges in 2017 even though there’s absolutely no dispute that he killed Steinle. This was a man who had been previously deported six times and was seven-time convicted felon. He had no business being in this country but the local authorities ignored an ICE detainer seeking his removal for political reasons.

Despite his actions, the defense essentially argued it was an accident. The claim was that he had found gun on the pier and it just went off when he picked it up. The jury did bring back one conviction though based on him being a felon in possession of a firearm. That one seemed like a no brainer. His former crimes dictated that he had no legal right to even pick up a gun, found or not.

Now, the 1st Court of Appeals has decided to overturn that conviction.

The 1st District Court of Appeals ruled that the trial judge erred in not giving the jury “the momentary possession instruction,” NPR reported.

“It is undisputed that defendant was holding the gun when it fired. But that fact alone does not establish he possessed the gun for more than a moment. To possess the gun, defendant had to know he was holding it,” the appellate court wrote, according to NPR.

This court decided that even though he illegally possessed the gun long enough to shoot and kill someone, he didn’t really “possess it.” I’ll let you try to make sense of that. The general argument seems to be that not only was the shooting an accident, but that he didn’t even realize he was holding a gun the entire time. I find that improbable to the point of impossible.

The simplest explanation remains the likeliest. That he stole the gun, likely thinking he could sell it (Garcia-Zarate was homeless) and was screwing around with it when it went off. Perhaps the prosecution erred in not charging him with a lower count of manslaughter, as proving intent was always going to be difficult. The conviction on him actually possessing the gun being overturned is just mind-numbing though.

Right now, Garcia-Zarate is in federal custody on immigration and new gun charges. Perhaps some small sliver of justice will be served in the end but it’ll never be enough. This tragedy was completely preventable because there’s no reason he should have been in the country in the first place. These are the costs of unfettered illegal immigration and forcing Americans to pay them because we refuse to enforce our laws is shameful.

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