Expert Witness to Analyze Surveillance Video of Shooting in Steinle Murder Trial
(BayAreaNewsTalk.com) – Defense attorneys this morning presented testimony from a video
enhancement expert in the trial of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, the man charged
with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Kate Steinle on San
Francisco’s Pier 14.
Attorneys for Garcia Zarate, a 45-year-old homeless Mexican
citizen who was arrested around an hour after the July 1, 2015 shooting based
on witness descriptions, are not contesting that he fired the shot that
Instead, they are presenting a series of expert witnesses this
week to bolster their argument that the shooting was an accident that
occurred after Garcia Zarate found and picked up a gun that had been stolen
from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger several days earlier.
Paul Hiromi Endo, president of the San Bruno-based video and
graphics firm Think Twice, Inc, was called to the stand this morning by Matt
Gonzalez, chief attorney for the public defender’s office, to analyze dark,
grainy video of the 6:30 p.m. shooting.
The video, which was first presented during the prosecution case,
was taken from a surveillance camera at another pier around 800 feet away. It
shows Garcia Zarate as a small, dark figure sitting on a seat on the pier and
Steinle and her family members walking around 90 feet away toward the pier’s
As the video continues, a small white figure identified as Steinle
can be seen falling to the ground, and Garcia Zarate walks away. A video
enhancement presented by prosecutor Diana Garcia also showed a small splash
in the water that was identified in witness testimony as occurring when
Garcia Zarate threw the gun used in the shooting into the water.
On Monday, the defense opened its case with testimony from James
Norris, former head of the San Francisco crime lab, on the bullet ricochet
that sits at the heart of the defense case. Forensic evidence shows that the
single bullet struck the ground around 12 feet in front of Garcia Zarate
before striking Steinle in the back.
Steinle’s shooting triggered a national furor over San Francisco’s
Sanctuary City policies after it was learned that Garcia Zarate, an
undocumented immigrant with a history of deportations and drug charges, had
been released from San Francisco jail several months earlier without notice
to federal immigration authorities.
Sanctuary City policies, which have been adopted by hundreds of
cities and counties across the country, limit the communication and
cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration
The policies are intended to increase community safety by
encouraging immigrants to report crimes and work with local police and also
to avoid liability due to illegal detentions. They have been upheld by court
rulings but are bitterly opposed by immigration opponents.
Garcia Zarate had been sent to San Francisco jail after he
completed a federal sentence for returning to the country following
deportation because he had a warrant in the city for an old marijuana charge.
That charge was dismissed once he arrived in San Francisco and he was
Defense attorneys have said they expect to wrap up their case this
week, with closing arguments expected to take place next week. Testimony is
expected to continue this afternoon.