Immigrant Cleared in Kate Steinle Killing Pleads Not Guilty to Gun Counts

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NBC Bay Area/AP

A Mexican man acquitted of murder in a San Francisco shooting that ignited a national immigration debate has pleaded not guilty to U.S. gun charges.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate appeared in federal court Tuesday to face two illegal gun possession charges. They were filed after a jury in November found him not guilty of killing Kate Steinle in 2015.

Garcia Zarate has been deported five times and served prison time for illegally re-entering the U.S.

Under San Francisco's "sanctuary city" policy, local authorities released him from jail several weeks before the shooting, ignoring a federal request to detain him for a sixth deportation.

Garcia Zarate says he found a gun under a seat on a popular pier and that it accidentally fired when he picked it up.

He was transferred from a city jail to U.S. custody over the weekend.

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