Jury picked in murder case that stoked immigration debate


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A jury has been selected for the murder trial of a Mexican man whose case set off a national debate over U.S. sanctuary cities and immigration during last year's presidential campaign after he was accused of shooting and killing a woman on a popular San Francisco pier.

Six women and six men were selected Wednesday for the trial of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate after jury candidates answered a 14-page questionnaire that probed their views about Latinos, immigration and guns.

Zarate, 54, is charged with murder in the shooting death of office worker Kate Steinle, 32, in July 2015. Opening arguments in the case are scheduled for Monday.

Steinle was on a summer evening's stroll with her father on the pier crowded with pedestrians when she was shot. She collapsed into her father's arm, whimpering "help me, Dad." The bullet struck her heart and she died in her father's arms.

Zarate had been deported five times and was homeless in San Francisco when he said he found a gun wrapped in a t-shirt underneath the bench he was sitting on.

He said the gun fired when he picked it up. A ballistic expert testified that the bullet ricocheted off the concrete pavement before fatally striking Steinle in the back.

The shooting touched off a political furor during the presidential campaign, with President Donald Trump referring to Steinle's death in his campaign as a reason to toughen U.S. immigration policies.

The judge has prohibited the politics of gun control and immigration from Zarate's trial.

Zarate acknowledged shooting Steinle but said the gun he was playing with on the pier accidentally discharged. The gun had been stolen from the car of a Bureau of Land Management ranger several days before the July 1, 2015 shooting.

Trump since being elected president has threatened to withhold federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities such as San Francisco, several of which have filed lawsuits to prevent the move.

The jurors who were selected said they did not have negative experiences or views of Latinos or people who have entered the country illegally that would prevent them from keeping an open mind.

"If you learned that a person had illegally entered the country, would you believe he was entitled to the same due process rights as a U.S. citizen?" asked one of the 62 questions posed to the jurors. Responses to the questionnaire were not made public.

Five jury alternates were also seated after being asked their opinion of San Francisco's sanctuary city policy, which prohibits city officials from cooperating with federal immigration officials.

The jurors were also quizzed about their gun ownership and political views of firearms.

"We are very pleased with the jury," said Matt Gonzalez, Zarate's attorney. "We have such great diversity built in in San Francisco and I think we have a jury that understands a lot of the concerns about the defendant receiving a fair trial."

San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Diana Garcia declined comment.


More Related News

As Florida recount wraps up, Democrat Gillum concedes
As Florida recount wraps up, Democrat Gillum concedes

Democrat Andrew Gillum ended his hard-fought campaign for Florida governor Saturday with just hours remaining for counties to turn in official recount results, conceding to a Republican whose party has held that office since 1999. Gillum, in a video he posted on Facebook, congratulated Republican Ron

Trump visits as California struggles to locate 1,000 people
Trump visits as California struggles to locate 1,000 people

PARADISE, Calif. (AP) - President Donald Trump heads to Northern California on Saturday to see firsthand the grief and devastation from the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century amid confusion over how many people remain unaccounted for.

The Latest: White House writing up rules for reporters
The Latest: White House writing up rules for reporters

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the legal challenge to the White House's decision to strip CNN reporter Jim Acosta of his White House press credentials (all times local):

Trump says he answered written questions in Mueller probe
Trump says he answered written questions in Mueller probe
  • Tech
  • 2018-11-16 18:16:47Z

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that he answered the questions "very easily" this week about the special counsel's ongoing probe into 2016 election interference and possible ties between Russia and the president's campaign.

Judge: White House must return CNN
Judge: White House must return CNN's Jim Acosta's credential

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to immediately return the White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, an appointee of President Donald Trump, announced his decision following a hearing in Washington. The judge said Acosta

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.