Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a.k.a. Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the illegal alien, five-time deportee, and seven-time convicted felon who killed 32-year-old American Kate Steinle in July 2015, was sentenced to time served on Friday after being convicted in November of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Zarate was acquitted of the murder and assault charges he faced, in what critics called an example of jury nullification in the politically-charged case.
Zarate was sentenced to three years in state prison, but “will be on parole for 48 months and will remain in custody to face federal charges,” according to Fox News. Those federal charges include weapons and immigration offenses.
The Steinle case electrified national debate about illegal aliens and “sanctuary cities,” especially as Zarate admitted that he had sought to live in San Francisco because he would be safer from law enforcement. Donald Trump, who had launched his campaign for president just a few weeks before, took up the Steinle case among several others in which Americans had been killed by illegal aliens.
Some left-wing activists greeted the Steinle verdict by declaring her killing an “accident,” and accused Trump of “scapegoating immigrants.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at the time:
When jurisdictions choose to return criminal aliens to the streets rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities, they put the public’s safety at risk. San Francisco’s decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle. While the State of California sought a murder charge for the man who caused Ms. Steinle’s death—a man who would not have been on the streets of San Francisco if the city simply honored an ICE detainer—the people ultimately convicted him of felon in possession of a firearm. The Department of Justice will continue to ensure that all jurisdictions place the safety and security of their communities above the convenience of criminal aliens. I urge the leaders of the nation’s communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers.