The accused killer of a Pleasanton woman who was shot to death while strolling along Pier 14 in San Francisco with her father said he doesn't remember anything about the evening because he was high on drugs.
In a brief jailhouse interview Monday that was cut short by his defense attorney, Francisco Sanchez, 45, told Telemundo that he had been taking sleeping pills and smoking pot on the evening he is accused of shooting 32-year-old Kate Steinle.
Appearing disheveled and confused, Sanchez told the reporter that he believes he was taken into custody on July 1 at the San Francisco County jail because police told him that he killed someone.
"They say I attacked someone," Sanchez told Telemundo, which is owned by NBC Universal, in Spanish. "If that's what they say, I say it's good because I've never been the type to contradict."
He also told the reporter that he often confuses capital letters with lowercase letters and didn't get enough schooling because he never had money to pay for the school fees.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Archdiocese held a brief prayer service Monday morning for Steinle, as it does for all homicide victims in its jurisdiction. Relatives have also launched an effort to raise money to support her family and favorite charities in her memory.
Sanchez, who was identified by the many witnesses at the scene, was taken into custody and is awaiting arraignment. A police source told the San Francisco Chronicle that Sanchez said he was shooting sea lions and hit her by mistake.
And in a longer jailhouse interview with KGO-TV over the weekend, Sanchez said he found a gun wrapped up in a T-shirt at the pier under a bench. Sanchez also told the station he kept re-entering the United States and making San Francisco as his adopted home because it is a sanctuary city, meaning he knew officials would not deport him back to Mexico. According to immigration officials, Sanchez had been deported to Mexico five times, the last time in 2008.
Sanchez also told KGO that he felt sorry for Steinle's family and that he should be given the strictest punishment so that he can tell her parents in court that he no longer wants to live.
The Steinle family has mixed emotions after learning that federal immigration agents had wanted to deport Sanchez once he finished a jail sentence for a marijuana offense, which the San Francisco County Jail did not do. The sheriff's legal counsel, Freya Horne, told NBC Bay Area on Friday that's because city, county and state law gives San Francisco the right to refuse immigration detainers if the suspect has no other outstanding warrants. Sanchez had none, Horne said, which is why ICE was never notified.
Steinle's family, however, is trying to stay away from the politics of the case, and instead, focusing on the memory of their loved one. Her brother, Brad Steinle, described his sister as the “most loving, beautiful and amazing” person with a “special soul, a kind and giving heart.”
Brad Steinle set up a GoFundMe page on July 4, asking that people support their family and also raise money for his sister's two favorite charities, the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation and PAWS. A separate page was set up by her work colleagues at Medtronic to raise money on behalf of her family.
The day before Steinle was killed, her brother said she changed her Facebook cover photo with a saying that read, “Whatever’s good for your soul….do that.”
He asked that anyone who knew his sister, and even those who didn't, honor her memory by living life by those words.
Telemundo's Cristina Londono and Gisela Crespo contributed to this report.