San Francisco

Kate Steinle Murder Trial: Opening Statements Begin Monday

Opening statements will begin Monday in the trial of a man accused of fatally shooting Kathryn Steinle as she walked on San Francisco's Pier 14 in 2015.

A jury and five alternate jurors were seated and sworn-in Wednesday in the murder trial of Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate, who was arrested shortly after the fatal shooting of Steinle, 32, on July 1 2015.

Defense attorneys have said they expect to argue that the shooting, which appeared to be the result of a ricochet, was accidental.

The arrest of Garcia-Zarate, 54, generated national controversy over San Francisco's "sanctuary city" policies.

Garcia-Zarate, an undocumented immigrant, had been taken into city custody in March 2015 for a warrant on a marijuana sales charge after he completed a nearly four-year federal sentence for illegal re-entry following deportation.

When the marijuana charge was dropped, local officials released him without notifying immigration authorities despite a pending civil detainer request. City authorities do not generally comply with such requests unless they are accompanied by a criminal warrant or the inmate is guilty of certain serious felonies.

In the aftermath of the shooting it was also reported that the gun used in the shooting had been stolen from the vehicle of an off-duty U.S. Bureau of Land Management agent's car in San Francisco only days earlier, highlighting ongoing problems with auto burglaries and the improper storage of weapons in cars by law enforcement officers.

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