Man cleared in Kate Steinle killing pleads not guilty to gun counts

FILE - This undated file booking photo provided by the San Francisco Police Department shows Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, which is what his attorney says is the birth name of the man who has been known by a number of aliases, including Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. A jury has been selected for the murder trial of Zarate, whose case set off a national debate over sanctuary cities and immigration during last year's presidential campaign after he was accused of shooting and killing a woman on a popular San Francisco pier. Opening arguments are set for Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. (San Francisco Police Department via AP, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A Mexican man acquitted of murder in a San Francisco shooting that ignited a national immigration debate has pleaded not guilty to U.S. gun charges.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate appeared in federal court Tuesday to face two illegal gun possession charges.

They were filed after a jury in November found him not guilty of killing Kate Steinle in 2015.

Garcia Zarate has been deported five times and served prison time for illegally re-entering the U.S.

Under San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” policy, local authorities released him from jail several weeks before the shooting, ignoring a federal request to detain him for a sixth deportation.

Garcia Zarate says he found a gun under a seat on a popular pier and that it accidentally fired when he picked it up.

He was transferred from a city jail to U.S. custody over the weekend.

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