- A Mexican national was acquitted of murder charges in the killing of 32-year-old Kate Steinle.
- Steinle’s father said that his family wants to move on with their lives.
- Steinle’s death has been a politically-charged talking point for conservative groups that have called for stricter immigration enforcement.
When the jury’s verdict in the trial of a Mexican national accused of murdering 32-year-old Kate Steinle was read Thursday, the Steinle family was reportedly absent from court, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“We just want to get this over with and move on with our lives, and think about Kate on our terms,” said Jim Steinle, Kate’s father, in the Chronicle. “Nothing’s been on our terms. It’s been on everyone else’s terms.”
Kate was fatally shot in the back by a stolen gun in the possession of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a Mexican national who was previously deported from the US five times and served in a federal prison. Zarate claimed that the shooting was an accident; that it happened after he picked up the gun.
‘”We have never had a second of anger – not a moment,” Jim told the Chronicle at one point during the interview. “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,” Jim continued. “We would just like people to know … that’s the Steinles’ feelings.”
Conservative groups used Zarate’s criminal record to argue that US immigration policies are inadequate, and called for stronger enforcement. Many have used the occasion to rally around Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. Trump brought up the case many times during his 2016 election campaign.
But the jury viewed the case differently. Zarate was acquitted of the murder and manslaughter charges, and was found guilty of felony possession of a firearm, according to the Associated Press.
After the verdict, Trump tweeted: “A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration.”
Following the jury’s decision, Jim Steinle told the Chronicle he was “saddened and shocked.”
“There’s no other way you can coin it,” he said. “Justice was rendered, but it was not served.”
Jim, who held Kate after she was shot, said that the interview with the Chronicle would probably be his last. When people asked for his opinion on whether Zarate should be executed, he offered a poignant statement.
“I think Kate’s gone,” he told the San Francisco newspaper. “We’re not going there. We don’t have hate.”
“We believe Kate’s in a better place, and we think about her on that level,” he continued. “But no, we have no vindictiveness.”