SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The man acquitted of murder charges in the 2015 shooting death of a woman on a San Francisco pier was sentenced Friday to time served on the one count for which he was convicted.
The maximum three-year sentence for a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm was satisfied by the time Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate spent in county jail, including credit for good behavior, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Samuel Feng ruled.
The judge also dismissed Garcia-Zarate’s motion for a new trial on the firearm charge.
In November, a jury rejected first-degree murder, second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges, as well as an assault charge against Garcia-Zarate, 45. Instead, they found him guilty only of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Victim Kate Steinle’s death became a focus of debate over sanctuary city laws and immigration enforcement, because Garcia-Zarate, a Mexican citizen, had been deported five times. Judge Feng ruled those issues off limits during this trial.
Garcia-Zarate now faces two federal charges for the same events of July 1, 2015, and is expected to be arrested by federal officers as soon as he’s released from jail. He will likely be arraigned in the Northern District of California on Monday or Tuesday.
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi called the federal charges “pure vindictiveness.”
Defense attorney Tony Serra, who will represent Garcia-Zarate in federal court, called the new charges retaliatory and said he “would bring out the political issues that are relevant.”
He added, “There’s going to be a motion made right at the beginning for dismissal predicated on vindictive prosecution, which is disallowed under both federal and state law.”
Serra said if there was collusion between the state and federal prosecutors he will “bring a motion to dismiss on double jeopardy grounds.”
Even San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said after Friday’s hearing that the incident had been used as “a political football.”