An alternate juror who sat through a murder trial that prompted a fierce immigration debate says he agrees with the jury's decision to acquit a Mexican man of murder for the shooting death of a San Francisco woman two years ago. Released on March 26, 2015, he was taken to San Francisco pending a warrant for a drug charge; he was released three months prior to the shooting, despite Immigration and Customs Enforcement trying to detain him.
Garcia Zarate has said he found an object wrapped in a T-shirt under a bench on a pier that turned out to be gun and accidentally fired when he picked it up.
A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Jose Ines Garcia Zarate Tuesday on one count each of felon in possession of a firearm and of "being an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States" in possession of a gun and ammunition, according to the indictment. Garcia Zarate is to be sentenced in state court December 14.
Zarate is now in custody on the conviction in California.
Jurors could also have convicted Garcia Zarate of second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter but chose not to.
President Donald Trump frequently brought up the case past year during his presidential campaign to criticize efforts in the U.S.to combat illegal immigration.
This tragic incident cast a spotlight on the sanctuary city policy, which the Trump administration has tried to deal with by cutting off DOJ grants to cities that have such a policy.
Rather than turn him over to federal immigration officials.
Immigration officials have said they want to deport him.
And he is convinced that based on all of the available information presented during the trial, the jurors did not botch the case, as President Donald Trump has suggested in an angry tweet slamming the verdict as a 'miscarriage of justice'.
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