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Kate Steinle trial starts with opening statements, emotional testimony from father

Kate Steinle trial starts with opening statements, emotional testimony from father

THE MERCURY NEWS – CASEY TOLAN

The undocumented immigrant accused of shooting and killing Pleasanton native Kate Steinle was aiming toward her and knew what he was doing, a prosecutor argued in her opening statement on Monday morning in a politically charged murder case that sparked a nationwide debate on immigration policy.

But a defense attorney said Steinle’s death was the result of an accidental gunshot and a “freakish ricochet” of the bullet that struck her.

The trial of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who allegedly shot 32-year-old Steinle on San Francisco’s Pier 14 in July 2015, kicked off on Monday with opening statements and brief but emotional testimony from Steinle’s father, who was walking with her during the shooting.

Garcia Zarate, 45, has pled not guilty to second-degree murder, and his lawyers argue that the shooting was an accident — a single shot that ricocheted off the pier into Steinle’s back. The prosecution will try to convince jurors that Garcia Zarate shot recklessly at people, the standard necessary for a second-degree conviction.

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