Trial set to begin for suspect in Kate Steinle murder case

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Opening statements in the Kate Steinle murder trial begins at 10 a.m. Monday, but the hot-button immigration issues that brought this case national attention is off limits in court.

It's been more than two years since 32-year-old Pleasanton native Kate Steinle was shot to death while walking with her father along San Francisco's pier 14.

Her accused killer, undocumented immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, has been charged with second degree murder.

His criminal and deportation history, as well as San Francisco's sanctuary city policy, sparked anger across the country and on the campaign trail.

"My opponent wants Sanctuary Cities. But where was sanctuary for Kate Steinle?" said then-candidate Donald Trump during his speech at the Republican National Convention last year.

But the jury has been told to ignore the politics surrounding this case.

The six men and six women were chosen among a pool of a thousand.

Jean Yuan was in that jury pool.

"They did talk about not wanting that to color people's thoughts during case, that that was not what this case was deciding," said Yuan.

Instead, the focus will be on the shooting itself, whether it was accidental, as Garcia Zarate claims, or whether the gun was fired intentionally, which prosecutors are trying to prove.

Legal Analyst Michael Cardoza says it will be a battle of the experts.

"I've tried quite a number of murder trials, probably over thirty of them," said Cardoza. "And I know whichever expert the jury likes better and the expert that they like is the expert they're going to believe and that's going to drive this trial."

The trial is expected to conclude in early December.
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