San Francisco, CA - A jury decided on Thursday that Jose Garcia Zarate was not guilty for the fatal shooting of Kate Steinle in July 2015.
The case received national attention because Garcia Zarate was an illegal immigrant who had been previously deported five times, and he admitted that he fired the gun.
The incident happened as Steinle, 32, walked on a pier with her father and a friend, according to CNN.
As she was walking, she was fatally shot in the back by a .40 caliber bullet, which tore through her abdominal aorta.
Surveillance video showed Garcia Zarate fleeing the scene. He was later arrested and gunshot residue was found on this hands.
Prosecutors said that he was playing his own "secret version of Russian roulette" as he deliberately fired into a crowd with a stolen firearm.
Garcia Zarate admitted to police that he had fired the gun, but claimed that he was aiming at a seal. In different accounts, he also claimed that he had found the gun wrapped up in a cloth and that it accidentally discharged as he unwrapped it.
He also claimed that he had just stepped on the gun, causing it to fire.
Prosecutors said that, immediately after the shooting, Garcia Zarate threw the gun into the bay before fleeing.
Despite this evidence, a jury declined to convict him of first degree murder or involuntary manslaughter, and only found him guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
In addition to being a five-times-deported Mexican national, Garcia Zarate had just been released by the sanctuary city of San Francisco, who refused to turn him over to immigration authorities.
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