Fatal shot in San Francisco murder case that sparked immigration spat …

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bill Requires Prosecution Of Transferred Immigrants.

SAN FRANCISCO — The shot that killed a young San Francisco woman and touched off a heated immigration debate ricocheted off pavement before striking her in the back, which defense attorneys say show the killing was an accident. SACRAMENTO (AP) — Seeking to prevent another tragedy like the July killing of a woman on a San Francisco pier, Republican state lawmakers on Wednesday proposed legislation that would prevent California cities from accepting federal transfers of immigrant prisoners unless local prosecutors commit to pursuing felony charges.The single bullet that struck and killed a 32-year-old woman in broad daylight on San Francisco’s waterfront last month appears to have ricocheted off a cement pier prior to hitting the victim, according to expert testimony provided Wednesday during the second day of the murder suspect’s preliminary hearing. But San Francisco police inspector John Evans testified the bullet traveled in a straight line, suggesting Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was pointing the gun in the direction of Kate Steinle, 32. Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez is due in court on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to try him on a murder charge in the July slaying of Kathryn Steinle, 32.

Immigration officials wanted to remove him from the country a sixth time when he was released from San Francisco jail in April despite a federal detainer request. Sanchez, 45, has pleaded not guilty and told KGO-TV in a jailhouse interview following the slaying that he found a gun wrapped in a T-shirt while sitting on a bench at the pier, and it started firing on its own after he picked it up. Steinle’s killing has brought criticism from federal immigration officials and some lawmakers and social commenters, who have said it was preventable. The criminalist, Gerald Andrew Smith, testified that he matched the bullet that pierced Steinle’s heart to the .40-caliber Sig Sauer pistol that police dive teams recovered from the bay after a witness told police she saw and heard an object thrown into the water shortly after the 6:30 p.m. shooting.

The bullet then ricocheted off the cement pier before continuing in an upward path, ultimately striking the victim, San Francisco resident Kathryn “Kate” Steinle as she walked on the pier with her father and a family friend at about 6:30 p.m. on July 1. San Francisco medical examiner Michael Hunter also testified Wednesday that the bullet made a rectangular-shaped wound rather than a typical oval-shaped wound, indicating too that the bullet had ricocheted before striking Steinle. Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, would require that police confirm that prosecutors will pursue a felony charge before allowing a detainee to be released to a city or county from federal detention. Smith processed the loaded pistol, which later was discovered stolen from a Bureau of Land Management ranger during an auto burglary, and determined that one of the bullets had been fired. He said that upon examining the one spent bullet retrieved from Steinle’s body during the autopsy, it is his opinion that the signatures of the bullet matched the test bullet he fired from the pistol.

Jim Steinle has since traveled to Washington, D.C., to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and to urge lawmakers to abolish local policies of ignoring federal immigration requests for cooperation with deportations. The city’s sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi, has defended Sanchez’s April 15 release, saying federal officials knew city law requires a warrant or court order to detain an inmate for deportation, but they did not obtain one for Sanchez. San Francisco and other cities and counties ignore requests from federal authorities to detain jail inmates who are thought to be in the country illegally. Prosecutors charged Lopez-Sanchez with murder and being a felon in possession of a gun — a reference to his long record of drug crimes and time spent behind bars for illegally entering the country.

A plainclothes police officer who assisted in the arrest of Lopez-Sanchez near the scene following the shooting, also took the stand today, and recounted an incident in which he stopped another person on the street prior to stopping Lopez-Sanchez. The man they stopped didn’t seem to be a “homeless-type person” as the suspect description indicated, and the man was let go without further questioning, Fry said. At Tuesday’s hearing, testimony from three police investigators as well as photographic evidence captured by tourists appear to place the suspect at the crime scene. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said they had asked to be notified before Lopez-Sanchez’s release, so they could seek to deport him again. Chief attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office Matt Gonzalez, who is representing Lopez-Sanchez, said today he is hopeful that the judge will see Lopez-Sanchez’ actions as accidental.

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