VIDEO: Murder trial starts for pier shooting victim Kate Steinle

 

(KRON) — Opening statements have started in the trial of a Mexican man accused of fatally shooting a woman on a San Francisco pier two years ago. The case set off a national immigration debate during last year’s presidential race.

Prosecutor Diana Garcia showed the jury the gun that killed Kate Steinle and said she was shot on purpose.

Garcia also told the jury Monday that a ballistics expert will testify that the gun would not have gone off accidentally, as the suspect has claimed.

Fifty-four-year-old Jose Ines Garcia Zarate has acknowledged shooting Steinle in the back while she was walking with her father on the downtown San Francisco pier on July 1, 2015.

Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and was homeless in San Francisco when he shot Steinle.

The defense attorney for Garcia Zarate says his client didn’t realize he had picked up a handgun when it fired.

Attorney Matt Gonzalez made the claim Monday during his opening statement at the trial.

Garcia Zarate has said the shooting of 32-year-old Kate Steinle was accidental and that he was handling a handgun he found wrapped in a T-shirt under a bench on the pier when it accidentally fired.

Gonzalez told jurors the gun, which had been stolen from the car of a law enforcement officer, is dangerous because it doesn’t have a safety and has a hair trigger.

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