"He took the life of a young, vibrant, beautiful, cherished woman by the name of Kate Steinle", she said.
Zarate was acquitted of first- and second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and assault with a semi-automatic weapon. Jurors convicted the Mexican citizen only of being a felon in possession of a firearm Thursday, in the sixth day of deliberations after receiving the case last week.
A prosecutor said in her closing arguments November 20 that Zarate was "playing his own secret version of Russian roulette" when he shot and killed Steinle in July 2015. He had been deported from the United States five times prior to Steinle's death.
Before the shooting, the San Francisco sheriff's department had released him from jail despite a federal immigration request to detain him for deportation.
"I'm relieved", Public Defender Jeff Adachi said after the verdict reading, adding that evidence in the case played a big role in the not-guilty verdict. "No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration". "Nothing about (Garcia Zarate's) ethnicity or immigration status was relevant in this case".
Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian said prosecutors were disappointed in the verdict but respected the jury's decision. This is really about the Steinle family. "They've shown incredible resolve in this whole process", he said. Nothing's been on our terms.More news: BMW i8 Roadster revealed as its most gorgeous hybrid yet
The Trump administration has sought to punish sanctuary cities through a series of legal actions, including an executive order to withhold funding, but a federal judge recently blocked it in a lawsuit from two California counties, San Francisco and Santa Clara.
"San Francisco's policy of refusing to honor ICE detainers is a blatant threat to public safety and undermines the rule of law", he said in a statement. When he was released, ICE sent him to San Francisco on March 26, 2015, for a 1995 warrant accusing him of selling $20 worth of marijuana. The bullet ricocheted on the pier's concrete walkway and fatally struck Steinle in the back.
The accused admitted to firing the weapon but said it was an accident. The defense argued that the shooting was unintentional, that the defendant found the gun wrapped in a cloth under his seat at the pier and that it accidentally discharged.
Garcia Zarate was sitting about 90 feet (27 meters) from Steinle when the gun fired. CNN and other media outlets previously identified him as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. She was a 32-year-old medical equipment saleswoman.
"For Donald Trump, we were just what he needed-beautiful girl, San Francisco, illegal immigrant, arrested a million times, a violent crime and yadda, yadda, yadda", Steinle's mother, Liz Sullivan, told the San Francisco Chronicle months after her daughter's death. "This is an absolutely disgraceful situation and I am the only one that can fix it".
In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump tried to link Democrat Hillary Clinton to the controversy. "But where was sanctuary for Kate Steinle?" he asked. The legislation would increase maximum prison penalties for immigrants caught repeatedly entering the USA illegally.