Defense in Kate Steinle shooting wants gun conviction tossed

BY JILL CUENI-COHEN / DECEMBER 5, 2017 /

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Lawyers for illegal immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who was acquitted in the shooting death of Kate Steinle, said Monday they will seek to have a judge toss his gun possession conviction.

Claiming that the Mexican man did not know that he was holding a gun in his hand until it fired, Zarate’s lawyers don’t think he should be convicted of anything.

Zarate claimed he found an object wrapped in a T-shirt under a bench on a pier. When he picked it up, the object turned out to be a gun and it surprisingly went off in his hand, killing Steinle in a random, unintentional accident.

Stating that this doesn’t constitute possession of a weapon, the lawyers say they will request the dismissal after a sentencing hearing, planned for Dec. 14.

Zarate was acquitted last week of murder, involuntary manslaughter, and assault with a deadly weapon in the 2015 shooting death of Steinle.

Prior to his arrest for the shooting, Zarate had been deported five times. Just weeks before he killed Steinle, the San Francisco sheriff’s department released the illegal alien despite a federal immigration request to have him detained.

Zarate, who has been in jail since July 1, 2015, is facing a maximum sentence of three years in prison for the weapon possession conviction.

Immigration authorities said they will deport Garcia Zarate after he serves his sentence.