Immigrant acquitted of Steinle murder gets time served on lesser gun charge, taken into federal custody

The Mexican immigrant acquitted of murder in the 2015 shooting of Kathryn Steinle on a San Francisco pier was sentenced to time served Friday for weapons possession, but he did not walk out of court a free man.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 45, was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals even though he already served more than two years behind bars while awaiting trial for the Steinle killing.

That's because Garcia Zarate was indicted by a federal grand jury in December on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and being an “illegally present alien” in possession of the same.

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Kate Steinle deadly shooting case
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Kate Steinle deadly shooting case
Jim Steinle (L), father of murder victim Kathryn Steinle (in photo, R), allegedly at the hands of an undocumented immigrant, testifies about his daughter's murder during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on U.S. immigration enforcement policies, on Capitol Hill in Washington July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez is led into the Hall of Justice for his arraignment in San Francisco, California July 7, 2015. Francisco Sanchez, 45, was charged with murder on Monday for last week's shooting of Kathryn Steinle, 32. The case drew national attention after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump used the killing to decry U.S.-Mexico border security. REUTERS/POOL/Michael Macor
A Coast Guard vessel passes a makeshift memorial for shooting victim Kathryn Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco, California July 6, 2015. Steinle, 32, was fatally shot as she walked with her father along the popular Embarcadero pier on July 1, 2015 in what San Francisco police described as an apparent random attack. The random fatal shooting, allegedly by an immigrant, proves the United States must tighten its borders, according to a statement on Friday by U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is facing heavy criticism for his comments about Mexicans. REUTERS/Noah Berger
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 21: Liz Sullivan (C) mother of Kathryn 'Kate' Steinle who was killed by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco, is comforted while her son Brad Steinle (R) sits nearby during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, July 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from family members who have had loved ones killed by illegal immigrants. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 21: A large photo of Kathryn 'Kate' Steinle who was killed by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco, is shown while her dad Jim Steinle testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, July 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from family members who have had loved ones killed by illegal immigrants. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, arrested in connection with the July 1, 2015, shooting of Kate Steinle on a pier in San Francisco, California, U.S. is seen in an undated photo released by the San Francisco Police Department. Courtesy San Francisco Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Jim Steinle, father of Kate Steinle who was killed by an undocumented immigrant, speaks during a news conference on September 1, 2015 in San Francisco, California. The family of Kate Steinle who was killed by an undocumented immigrant, have filed claims against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the Bureau of Land Management and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their role in their daughter's death. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Brad Steinle, (L) brother of Kate Steinle who was killed by an undocumented immigrant, is comforted by his father Jim Steinle (R) as he speaks during a news conference on September 1, 2015 in San Francisco, California. The family of Kate Steinle who was killed by an undocumented immigrant, have filed claims against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the Bureau of Land Management and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their role in their daughter's death. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 21: Liz Sullivan (C) mother of Kathryn 'Kate' Steinle who was killed by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco, is comforted while her son Brad Steinle (R) sits nearby during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, July 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from family members who have had loved ones killed by illegal immigrants. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 21: Jim Steinle, father of Kathryn 'Kate' Steinle who was killed by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco, arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, July 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from family members who have had loved ones killed by illegal immigrants. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Frank Pitre, attorney for the family of Kate Steinle who was killed by an undocumented immigrant, speaks during a news conference on September 1, 2015 in San Francisco, California. The family of Kate Steinle who was killed by an undocumented immigrant, have filed claims against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the Bureau of Land Management and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their role in their daughter's death. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
JUST IN: Jury finds Mexican man not guilty of murder in 2015 San Francisco pier shooting death of Kate Steinle; fou… https://t.co/p1uxsCj6VM
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Liz Sullivan and Jim Steinle, the parents of Kate Steinle who was killed by an undocumented immigrant, speak during a news conference on September 1, 2015 in San Francisco, California. The family of Kate Steinle who was killed by an undocumented immigrant, have filed claims against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the Bureau of Land Management and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their role in their daughter's death. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: (R-L) Brad Steinle, Liz Sullivan and Jim Steinle, the family of Kate Steinle who was killed by an undocumented immigrant, look on during a news conference on September 1, 2015 in San Francisco, California. The family of Kate Steinle who was killed by an undocumented immigrant, have filed claims against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the Bureau of Land Management and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their role in their daughter's death. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: (L-R) Brad Steinle, Liz Sullivan and Jim Steinle, the family of Kate Steinle who was killed by an undocumented immigrant, look on during a news conference on September 1, 2015 in San Francisco, California. The family of Kate Steinle who was killed by an undocumented immigrant, have filed claims against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the Bureau of Land Management and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their role in their daughter's death. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Steve, who declined to give a last name, leaves flowers at a makeshift memorial for shooting victim Kathryn Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco, California July 6, 2015. Steinle, 32, was fatally shot as she walked with her father along the popular Embarcadero pier on July 1, 2015 in what San Francisco police described as an apparent random attack. The random fatal shooting, allegedly by an immigrant, proves the United States must tighten its borders, according to a statement on Friday by U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is facing heavy criticism for his comments about Mexicans. REUTERS/Noah Berger
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi (L) leads Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez into the Hall of Justice for his arraignment in San Francisco, California July 7, 2015. Francisco Sanchez, 45, was charged with murder on Monday for last week's shooting of Kathryn Steinle, 32. The case drew national attention after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump used the killing to decry U.S.-Mexico border security. REUTERS/POOL/Michael Macor
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The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, and if convicted Garcia Zarate would likely be deported back to Mexico — for the sixth time — after serving his sentence.

Garcia Zarate's public defender, Matt Gonzalez, was seeking a new trial on his weapons possession conviction. He argued that the immigrant didn’t have the handgun long enough for it to constitute true possession — Zarate had found it wrapped in a shirt under a chair on a pier and the gun went off by accident the moment he picked it up.

That shot killed the 32-year-old Steinle, who died in her father’s arms on July 1, 2015. Adding another tragic twist, the weapon had been stolen from a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger a week before.

But Judge James Feng denied Gonzalez's motion for a new trial.

Garcia Zarate was found not guilty of murder on Dec. 1 — a verdict that was a crushing blow to Steinle’s father, Jim, and that was denounced by President Donald Trump.

In the summer of 2015, Steinle became a rallying cry for then-candidate Trump and hard-liners on illegal immigration after it was revealed that Garcia Zarate had been deported to Mexico five times before and been arrested numerous times on drug charges.

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Reaction to verdict in Kate Steinle case
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Reaction to verdict in Kate Steinle case
A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration.
I am disappointed and angry at the not guilty verdict for Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an illegal alien who had several… https://t.co/soX05gmTnj
Sessions' statement on Steinle verdict: "I urge the leaders of the nation’s communities to reflect on the outcome o… https://t.co/tmvw4xKXJt
Such an insane recent news cycle, and now this?? Outrageous “not guilty” verdict in murder case of Kate Steinle. Th… https://t.co/0qFmqbc96Q
Jury convinced that illegal alien killed Kate Steinle accidentally. She would still be alive if we had a wall.
If this worthless Congress doesn’t pass #KatesLaw now, there is no hope for this nation. https://t.co/vFa1rayYFP
I wonder how the jurors in the Kate Steinle trial will feel when they lay down to go to sleep tonight knowing they… https://t.co/Yb51vKQrJw
A San Francisco jury finds an illegal alien not guilty of murdering Kate Steinle. In California - there is no justi… https://t.co/kg72rDByxA
Prayers for the Steinle family. Feds should immediately charge the thug with a variety of immigration crimes. What’s happening to America?
California's dangerous sanctuary cities policy cost #KateSteinle her life & gave her no justice. Thankful to join… https://t.co/g3Lqfk4xLP
Very upsetting #KateSteinle verdict. This is a sad day for our country. Elected officials in Sanctuary Cities and t… https://t.co/g42CTrK9d4
Kate Steinle’s family has suffered an agonizing loss and now have been denied justice for the man who shot and killed her. 1/2
If our immigration laws were enforced, Kate would be alive today. I defy anyone to defend that murderer’s right to… https://t.co/S1H1ng0Ncx
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Meanwhile, San Francisco officials have been forced to defend their “sanctuary city” policy, since it was revealed that the homeless man had been released from jail three months before the fatal shooting.

Garcia Zarate had finished a federal prison sentence for illegal re-entry into the U.S. and was transferred in March 2015 to a San Francisco jail to face a 20-year-old charge of selling marijuana. He was freed after the district attorney dropped the charge over the objections of federal immigration authorities who wanted to ship him back to Mexico.

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