SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Jose Garcia Zarate, who is cleared in the 2015 murder of Kate Steinle, is not competent to stand trial on federal gun charges.
That's according to a federal court evaluation of the defendant's mental competency.
The evaluator concluded Garcia Zarate is "mentally ill" and "...not presently being treated" for that illness.
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Garcia-Zarate faces federal charges of being a felon and an undocumented immigrant in possession of a gun and ammunition.
He remains in custody.
In a court document, United States Judge Vince Chhabria states:
"The evaluator has concluded that the defendant, because of mental illness that is not presently being treated, is not competent to stand trial. The evaluator's report has been provided to the government and the defense, and the Court has set a status conference for 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 19 to discuss next steps. See Dkt. No. 105. If either side disputes the evaluator's conclusion, an evidentiary hearing would likely be required to further explore the defendant's competency. If neither side disputes the evaluator's conclusion, the Court wishes to explore with the parties whether attempts should be made locally to restore the defendant to
competency through proper medication, as opposed to sending the defendant to a federal facility outside California. IT IS SO ORDERED."
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