Defendant to stand trial for murder in shooting death of Kate Steinle

Judge rules enough evidence for undocumented immigrant to face second-degree murder charge

A San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled Friday that an undocumented immigrant accused of shooting Pleasanton native Kate Steinle in July at San Francisco's Pier 14 will stand trial for murder.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Brendan Conroy determined there was enough evidence of second-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm against Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who is accused of shooting 32-year-old Steinle on July 1.

Max Szabo, a spokesman with the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, said that his office looks forward to the trial and is confident that there is enough evidence to find Lopez-Sanchez guilty of the charges filed against him.

Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez, chief attorney in the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, said he doesn't believe there is evidence that Lopez-Sanchez intended to kill Steinle.

Instead, Gonzalez described the defendant as "destitute" after being released from jail and said he likely found the gun on the pier and then accidentally discharged it when he picked it up.

Gonzalez said that because Lopez-Sanchez was homeless, he was more inclined than others to pick up something that had been discarded on the pier.

He said the gun, which had previously been reported stolen from a Bureau of Land Management ranger's vehicle, doesn't have a safety mechanism.

Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican national, has been deported five times and has seven prior felony convictions, including four involving narcotics.

Lopez-Sanchez had been released from San Francisco County Jail in April despite a request from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to detain him so that ICE field agents could deport him for a sixth time.

The shooting and arrest have triggered a national debate on San Francisco's Sanctuary City policy, which limits cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.

Gonzalez said today that's not what the case is really about, explaining that federal authorities already knew Lopez-Sanchez had been transferred to San Francisco and that he was an undocumented immigrant.

The sanctuary city policy is designed to allow citizens to contact law enforcement without fear of deportation.

According to Gonzalez and expert witnesses, the ballistics evidence also doesn't support malice aforethought, or an intentional act to kill Steinle.

Gonzalez said that if the defendant had been targeting Steinle, he would have been much closer. He said Lopez-Sanchez apparently threw the gun into the water after it discharged because he didn't want it to keep firing.

Lopez-Sanchez's re-arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. in Department 22 at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco.

— Bay City News Service

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15 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 4, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Swalwell's argument for his support of sanctuary cities.

When I asked congressman Eric Swalwell why he voted no against Kate's Law. He did not answer my question. He choose to present his position for the importance of his support for sanctuary cities. Eric Swalwell's comment and position as he stated it.

"More broadly, (speaking to Kate's murder) this is yet another example of how our immigration system is broken and needs comprehensive reform".

Swalwell continuing, "at the same time, (speaking for the illegal aliens) those coming here should always be treated with respect and dignity".

Kate's Law is not about a "broken immigration system". It is about imposing mandatory sentences on aliens who illegally reenter the United States. Kate's Law is not about those who come here illegally and legally. Kate's Law is about illegal reentry.

Eric Swalwell does not address the respect and dignity that was not afforded Kate Steinle and her family, when she was shot and killed by an illegal alien with a gun. That alien illegally reentered the United States.

Kate died in her fathers arms.

After multiple hearings, in a court of law before a judge, the prosecutors are proceeding with murder charges in this case.

12 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 4, 2015 at 5:59 pm

I do not think he is competent nor does he think for himself or have a backbone. He really is just Pelosi's lapdog. We need someone to represent the people not special interests.

12 people like this
Posted by Illegal aliens have way too many rights
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 4, 2015 at 6:58 pm

Swalwell is a liberal let discuss real facts. Liberals value the illegal alien more than real Americans. This case is very straight forward..either you believe people should be held accountable for their actions or not. This scum should be convicted of murder and than be put to death. Next we should ensure the federal government stops giving any funding to San Francisco. After that the Sheriff of San Francisco should be sued for liable concerning this case. He refuses to notify ICE concerning illegal aliens who need to be deported. The time has come to hold illegal aliens accountable for entering our country and breaking the law. The gravy train is over! more than 51 percent of illegal aliens use welfare....what a shame.

8 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 4, 2015 at 7:25 pm

Democrats view illegals as a future voting block. California gives them drivers licenses and you wait soon California will let them vote.

5 people like this
Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 7, 2015 at 8:42 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

Juan is not "undocumented". He is illegal!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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