Jose Ines Garcia Zarate pleaded not guilty to the U. S. District Court to two federal gun charges.
(San Francisco Police Department via AP, File)
An illegal Mexican immigrant who was acquitted of state charges of murdering a woman on a San Francisco pier pleaded not guilty to the U. S. District Court today to two federal gun charges.
Jose Inez Garcia Zarate is accused of being an ex-felon in possession of a gun and a person without papers in the possession of a gun at the time of the shooting of Kate Steinle on July 1, 2015.
Garcia Zarate entered the plea before U. S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco by attorney Maria Belyi.
His next appearance will be a hearing before Chhabria on April 24 at the request of Belyi and fellow lawyer Tony Serra for the dismissal of one of the two.
The motion argues that the two counts are redundant, as they both refer to the same alleged violation of gun possession.
Belyi also told Chhabria today that the defense plans to use an additional motion seeking dismissal of the case on the ground that it is vindictive prosecution.
She said that the defense attorneys believe that federal prosecutors pursued the gun against the in a quote to an example of Garcia Zarate, and an example of San Francisco as a sanctuary city.
Steinle was killed while walking with her father on Pier 14 when a bullet from a gun by Garcia Zarate ricocheted off of a part of the pier and hit her 90 metres away.
The defense in the San Francisco Superior Court murder trial claimed the shooting happened accidentally, after Garcia Zarate picked up a gun he found under a sofa. Prosecutors in that trial argued the shooting was deliberate.
Garcia Zarate is being held without bail while the federal case.
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