During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump used the murder of Kate Steinle as political leverage against undocumented immigrants. In his 2016 Republican National Convention speech, Trump declared:
“These families have no special interests to represent them. There are no demonstrators to protest on their behalf. My opponent will never meet with them or share in their pain. Instead, my opponent wants Sanctuary Cities. But where was sanctuary for Kate Steinle? Where was Sanctuary for the children of Mary Ann, Sabine and Jamiel? Where was sanctuary for all the other Americans who have been so brutally murdered, and who have suffered so horribly?”
Steinle, a 32-year-old San Francisco resident, was shot at Pier 14 in 2015 by Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an undocumented immigrant who claimed that it was an accident. On Thursday, a jury only found Zarate guilty of felony possession of a firearm, not assault with a firearm.
According to the New York Times, Zarate “had been homeless at the time of the shooting and had multiple felony convictions and five prior deportations to Mexico. He had been set free from jail only months before the shooting, in defiance of requests by federal immigration authorities, who had asked that he be held longer so he could be deported again.”
Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez claimed that the outcome of the trial should not be seen as an affront to the Steinle family, saying “They should not interpret this verdict as diminishing their loss. The physical evidence dictated the outcome, I’m just the lawyer who guided it along.”
The Steinle family spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle, with her father, Jim saying:
“We have never had a second of anger — not a moment. Frustration, maybe, and sadness for sure, but no anger and no retaliation or vindictiveness or anything like that. We’re not that kind of people. Even if this guy gets 100 years in prison, it doesn’t solve anything; it doesn’t help anything. We would just like people to know … that’s the Steinles’ feelings.”