SAN FRANCISCO — Garcia Zarate, a homeless, repeat offender, illegal immigrant acquitted of killing Kate Steinle was sentenced Friday to time served for illegal gun possession.
The San Francisco sheriff’s department has said it will turn over Garcia Zarate to U.S. federal authorities. A federal grand jury indicted him on two felony charges of illegal gun possession less than a week after the San Francisco jury acquitted him of murder.
Associated Press reports, “San Francisco Superior Court Judge Samuel Feng also denied a defense request to give Jose Ines Garcia Zarate a new trial for his conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm.”
San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi on Friday criticized federal prosecutors for adding the charges, calling it “ridiculous” and politically motivated. “This is rarely done,” Adachi said.
Defense attorneys attempted to appeal the “felon in possession of a firearm” conviction. They argued that the judge failed to properly instruct jurors. In court papers the attorneys argued that the judge improperly barred the jury from considering Garcia Zarate’s claim that he didn’t know he was holding a gun when it fired. Claiming that he didn’t know what he was holding and didn’t hold the gun long enough to warrant a firearm possession conviction.
On the gun charge conviction, Garcia Zarate faced a maximum sentence of three years. He was in fact sentenced to the full three year maximum. However, he has been held in the San Francisco jail since his arrest in July of 2015. After applying time in custody and state credits, Zarate’s sentence was ruled complete, time served. He will be on parole for 48 months.