The loose ends in the state case against Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, the illegal immigrant who shot and killed San Francisco woman Kate Steinle in 2015, have just been tied up. Fair warning, though: they aren’t any better than his murder acquittal at the end of last November.
Fox News reports that Zarate has been sentenced to a paltry three years in prison for felony possession of a weapon (after being found not guilty on the murder and assault counts).
However, he probably won’t have to serve a day of it — because he’s been incarcerated since his 2015 crime, he’s been credited with time served and only faces 48 months of parole — for this particular crime, anyway.
The good news is that Zarate is going to be remaining in prison for a while longer yet, as the
A federal grand jury has charged Garcia Zarate with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and being an “illegally present alien” in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Public defender Matt Gonzalez told reporters the new charges are “discriminatory,” and a reaction by administration officials upset over his client’s acquittal of murder and assault.
Garcia Zarate could be arraigned as early as next week for the federal charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. Immigration officials have also indicated they plan to deport him for a sixth time.
Last month, TFPP reported that the Justice Department was “looking at every option and we will prosecute this to the fullest extent available under the law because these cases are tragic and entirely preventable,” in the words of DOJ public affairs director Sarah Isgur Flores. It still falls far short of what Steinle deserves, but any attempt to make up for California authorities’ dereliction of duty is most welcome.
Steinle’s family also plans to sue both the state of California and the federal government for both failing to secure the murder weapon (a gun stolen from a Bureau of Land Management vehicle) and failing to enforce the immigration laws that would have kept Kate’s killer out of the country.
As TFPP has also previously covered, it is a mockery of justice that the jury accepted the defense’s claim that the gun accidentally went off in Zarate’s hands. But regardless of whether he intended to kill Steinle, was shooting indiscriminately, or unintentionally set the gun off, the larger issue remains that she would not have died that night if he had not been in the United States to begin with, a country where he not only had no legal claim to be, but from which he had previously been deported five times as a consequence of previous offenses.
This tragedy didn’t have to happen. There’s no excuse for our leaders not to finally get to work building the wall, punishing sanctuary cities, and enforcing our immigration laws, to prevent future Americans from suffering Kate Steinle’s fate.