SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Lawyers for a Mexican man who was acquitted in the shooting death of a young San Francisco woman that sparked a national immigration debate said Monday they will ask a judge to toss his gun possession conviction.
Lawyers for Jose Ines Garcia Zarate say they will argue that he didn’t know he had a gun in his hand until it fired.
Garcia Zarate has said he found an object wrapped in a T-shirt under a bench on a pier that turned out to be gun and accidentally fired when he picked it up.
His lawyers say that doesn’t constitute possession of a weapon. They intend to seek the dismissal after a sentencing hearing set for Dec. 14.
A jury acquitted Garcia Zarate last week of murder, involuntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon in the 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle.
Garcia Zarate had been deported five times before he was arrested a few hours after the shooting. The San Francisco sheriff’s department also released Garcia Zarate several weeks before the shooting despite a federal immigration request to detain him.
The weapon possession count carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Garcia Zarate has been in jail since July 1, 2015.
Immigration authorities said they will deport Garcia Zarate after he serves his sentence.
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