WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump continued on Friday to blast the acquittal of an undocumented Mexican immigrant in a murder case in San Francisco, saying the verdict was a travesty of justice.
Donald Trump suggested on Twitter that Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was found not guilty Thursday of murdering 32-year-old Kate Steinle because jurors had not been provided with key information about the defendant’s background.
“The jury was not told the killer of Kate was a 7 time felon,” Trump said in one of several tweets Friday about the case.
On Thursday night, he called the verdict “disgraceful” and said the case and its outcome highlighted why many Americans are angry about illegal immigration.
Steinle died on July 1, 2015, after being hit by a shot fired by Garcia Zarate, who had been deported to Mexico on five occasions and was wanted for a sixth deportation at the time of the shooting.
As a candidate, Trump used the case to bolster his argument against “sanctuary cities” such as San Francisco that do not cooperate with federal authorities on deportations and other enforcement actions.
On Thursday, the jury found Garcia Zarate not guilty of first- and second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter but convicted him of illegal possession of a firearm, a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.
Prosecutors said in the San Francisco courtroom that the defendant intentionally fired a shot in Steinle’s direction as she was walking with her father on San Francisco’s Pier 14.
But defense attorneys successfully convinced jurors that the gun – which Garcia Zarate had found under a bench on the pier – accidentally fired while he was handling it, noting that the victim was struck after the bullet had ricocheted off the ground.
The president took the opportunity to lash out against Democratic politicians, including predecessor Barack Obama.
“The Kate Steinle killer came back and back over the weakly protected Obama border, always committing crimes and being violent, and yet this info was not used in court. His exoneration is a complete travesty of justice. BUILD THE WALL!” Trump tweeted.
The president also predicted that the verdict would have political ramifications.
“The Schumer/Pelosi Democrats are so weak on Crime that they will pay a big price in the 2018 and 2020 Elections,” he said, referring to the minority leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.