After California jury found Kate Steinle’s killer not guilty, the Department of Justice demands the last word

FILE - In this July 7, 2015 file photo, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, right, is led into the courtroom by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, left, and Assistant District Attorney Diana Garciaor, center, for his arraignment at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco. A key phase of jury selection started Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, in the trial of a Zarate, who had previously used the name Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a man accused of fatally shooting a woman on a busy San Francisco pier, in a killing that set off a fierce national immigration debate. (Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, Pool, File)

On Thursday night, Jose Inez Garcia Zarate was found not guilty in the 2015 killing of Kate Steinle. A San Francisco jury found him not guilty on murder, involuntary manslaughter and assault with a semi-automatic weapon and now the Department of Justice may be weighing a case against Zarate.

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The DOJ allegedly issued an arrest warrant for Zarate that was first issued in 2015 and since updated to include charges of felon in possession of a firearm, involuntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon, according to Fox News.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores joined “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning to discuss the incident, blasting sanctuary cities like San Francisco and saying that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is looking at cutting federal grants to the cities. She announced “we’re looking at pursuing federal charges in this case … we will prosecute this to the fullest available extent of the law.”

Thomas Homan, who serves as the acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department, joined Fox’s Neil Cavuto and said “I was on the phone last night with the Department of Justice trying to do whatever we could as a federal government to hold this person responsible.” When Cavuto asked whether the DOJ or ICE will take the lead on Zarate, Homan answered “we want him prosecuted further, he will be deported to Mexico when we’re done prosecuting him … Let him spend some time in prison and we will deport him.”

Kate Steinle’s murder was a repeated talking point for candidate Donald Trump on his campaign tour and on Thursday night he sent out a string of tweets condemning the verdict.

For the most part, Zarate’s future is unclear but Steinle’s death in 2015 sparked enough outrage to force Washington bureaucrats to do something. At the helm of the ship pushing for a response to her death was then-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and in a Friday morning op-ed for The Hill, O’Reilly declared “politics had killed Kate along with the bullet.”

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In his commentary, O’Reilly didn’t play down his role in pushing for immigration reform after Steinle’s death, he writes “Almost immediately, I asked Congress to pass new legislation that I designed called ‘Kate’s Law.’ That would mandate federal prison time for any foreign convicted criminal who returns to America after being deported.” As O’Reilly notes, the law died on the floor of Congress but the former television star closed his editorial with “We the people need a champion to make Kate’s Law a reality. For the Steinle family’s sake, I pray someone emerges.”

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