Was a Mexican man on trial for killing a woman on a San Francisco pier a sick person who brought a gun to the tourist spot to harm someone or a hapless homeless person who picked up an object he didn’t know was a firearm until it went off accidentally? Jurors must decide as the trial of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate wraps up Tuesday, more than two years after the killing of Kate Steinle. Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation, the Associated Press reports. As a candidate, Donald Trump seized on Steinle’s death to decry loose borders and Democrats said San Francisco should have cooperated with federal immigration authorities to keep him in custody.
National politics did not come up in a month-long trial that featured circumstantial evidence and extensive testimony from ballistics experts. Prosecutor Diana Garcia said Garcia Zarate brought a gun to the pier, hiding it in his baggy clothes and twirling on a chair for more than 20 minutes before shooting it deliberately toward Steinle. “He knew exactly what he was doing,” Garcia said. Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez told jurors that prosecutors were pushing a “wild narrative of a desire to hurt someone he does not know.”