San Francisco Police Department admits to lying to defendant in Steinle case to get a confession

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Juan Ines Garcia Zarate was interrogated by San Francisco police investigators for 4 hours after he was arrested on July 1, 2015.

Lt. Anthony Ravano testified in the Kate Steinle murder trial that he led the interrogation. A Spanish translator with the department was also brought in to question the alleged shooter.

The interrogation was videotaped and shown Wednesday morning to the jury. During the interrogation, Garcia Zarate lied about his name. He told police his name was Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez and that he was Colombian, when in fact he was born in Mexico. He also said he was born in 1863. That would have made him about 152 years old.

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For hours, Garcia Zarate refused to admit that he was near pier 14 where the shooting took place. Instead, he insisted he was sitting outside, near AT&T Park eating crackers.

He then told police he walked slowly along the Embarcadero toward Townsend Street when a police officer stopped and arrested him. When asked if he knew why he was in the interrogation room, Garcia Zarate said "No."

Police showed Garcia Zarate three pictures taken by witnesses who saw him either at the pier or walking away. Garcia Zarate acknowledged he was wearing the same clothes, including a gray hoodie and a black T-shirt with the word "Cali" on it.

But while looking at the pictures, Garcia Zarate began questioning whether or not it was him. He told police that the man in one of the pictures had more hair and another picture did not have crackers on the ground.

Garcia Zarate insisted he was eating a lot of crackers and that crumbs must have fallen on the ground. At that time he was becoming more agitated. He again told police, he was Colombian and threatened them with spending all his money to hire lawyers to defend him.

At that time, two of the three investigators left the room, leaving Garcia Zarate alone with the interpreter. Lt. Ravano then testified that they were now going to use a more aggressive approach and admitted that, at the time of the interrogation they lied to Garcia Zarate.

When asked by the prosecution why did he lie, Lt. Ravano said: "It's just another tactic to help motivate him, to get a truthful response."

Police told Garcia Zarate that the firearm used to kill Steinle had been recovered, when in fact it was still in the waters of the bay. Police also said that there was a DNA match and that five witnesses had seen him at the pier. He was also told that police had GSR -Gunshot residue- samples that implicated him. At that time, none of that was true.

Shortly after, Garcia Zarate admitted to shooting the gun, police asked for a motive, but Garcia Zarate answered, "I don't know." After a long pause, he told police, in Spanish, "Ya no le hace," which means, "It doesn't matter anymore." When they asked him what was he aiming at, he said, "Seals."

Police also asked if he remembered the distance between him and Kate Steinle and he said 5-6 feet, even though Steinle was more than 90 feet away.

When asked where he found the gun, he said in Spanish, "Na' mas ahi," which means "Right there," referring to where he was at the pier. He said he had found the gun wrapped in a t-shirt or cloth and that it felt heavy. He then said it went off when he stepped on it, contradicting himself after saying he had been aiming at some seals.

"Why throw the gun in the bay," asked interrogators. Garcia Zarate answered, "I thought it was going to continue shooting. Police then said, "Tell us the truth, you didn't step on the gun. "

At that moment, the video was stopped and court was adjourned. The rest of the video will be shown to the jury Wednesday afternoon.

Click here to watch the full story on ABC7 News and click here to follow Lyanne Melendez on Twitter for the latest details.

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