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Kate Steinle case, a jury member, defends the decision, says murder an ‘freak accident’

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Kate Steinle ruling sends waves of outrage across America

‘The Next Revolution’ panel discusses the verdict.

One of the jurors who last month was Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty to the murder of Kate Steinle defended his decision, calling the 2015 shooting “a freak accident.”

The juror, who asked not to be identified, told NBC Bay Area why the jury ultimately decided Zarate was not guilty of the murder of Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco in July 2015. Steinle walked in with her father and a family friend when she was shot, collapsing in her father’s arms. The bullet had ricocheted on the pier of the concrete walkway for striking Steinle, killing her. Zarate admitted to shooting Steinle, but said that it was an accident.

KATE STEINLE OF THE ACCUSED KILLER FOUND NOT GUILTY OF THE MURDER, TO BE DEPORTED

The case immediately rose to national prominence, was also nourished by the discussions about the so-called “sanctuary cities” who refused to follow federal immigration laws when dealing with illegal immigrants. Zarate was released from a San Francisco prison approximately three months before the shooting, despite a request from the federal immigration authorities to hold him for deportation.

“If I am not a juror on this trial, I would probably be thinking the same: ‘Why did you let him go free?'”

– Kate Steinle case judge

The judge said, however, that the jury was not allowed to “consider the defendant before the record of the politics, including sanctuary cities,” NBC Bay Area reported.

“If I am not a juror on this trial, I would probably be thinking the same: ‘Why did you let him go free?'” the juror said. “But again, the reason is, they could not prove that he intentionally killed her. And by all the evidence, I really think that it was a freak accident.”

The judge said that his main concern was the manslaughter charges and if Zarate was threatening people with the gun or the swinging of the weapon for the shooting Steinle.

“During the trial they could not prove that,” he said. “All the videos that we never saw, not even a video showed that he was pointing the gun at her. So I think it’s very weak.”

The judge said he understood the national resistance of the decision caused, but he was convinced that the jury came to the correct conclusion.

“I am satisfied with my decision,” he explained. “I may have my head on a pillow and sleep well by thinking that I made the right decision.”

ED LEE, SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR AND SANCTUARY CITY’ IN FAVOUR OF DEATH 65

Zarate was acquitted of the first-and second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. He was also found not guilty of assault with a semi-automatic weapon. He was found guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon and is set to be deported back to Mexico, though he is likely to face a federal first trial.

“It was very hard on me,” the juror said. “When we’re done with the test, I left the court, walking to my car, I was in tears. Because I felt the pressure of my back. Because I could talk with the people then, I was in tears.”

Fox News’ Elizabeth Zwirz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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