A jury on Thursday found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of homicide charges in the July 2015 death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco.
He was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Garcia Zarate, a Mexican citizen and undocumented immigrant, had been deported from the United States five times prior to Steinle’s death.
Garcia Zarate, 45, faced a charge of second-degree murder, but jurors were also allowed to consider first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter convictions.
Garcia Zarate was accused of fatally shooting Steinle, 32, with a Sig Sauer .40-caliber handgun as she and her father walked on San Francisco’s Pier 14.
Jurors had to decide whether Garcia Zarate shot Steinle unintentionally or committed murder.
Steinle, her father and a friend were at the San Francisco pier when a bullet struck Steinle’s lower back and tore through her abdominal aorta, authorities said.
Surveillance video showed Garcia Zarate running away. After his arrest, investigators found gunshot residue on his right hand, prosecutor Diana Garcia told jurors.
Prosecutors said Garcia Zarate was playing his own “secret version of Russian roulette” and deliberately fired into an unsuspecting crowd on the pier, killing Steinle.
Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez said Garcia Zarate found the gun at the pier. He said it was wrapped in cloth, and when Garcia Zarate unwrapped it, the gun accidentally discharged.
But in a police interrogation, Garcia Zarate admitted to firing the gun, saying he was aiming at a seal.
He told police that he stepped on the gun, causing it to fire.
Prosecutors said Garcia Zarate immediately tried to cover his tracks by throwing the gun into the San Francisco Bay, then fleeing the scene.
Garcia Zarate was formerly known as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, one of several aliases he is known to have used. CNN and other media outlets previously identified him as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez.
See More- Source: KTLA