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Crime Federal ranger's testimony sought in Steinle murder trial

12:20  15 july  2017
12:20  15 july  2017 Source:   ap.org

Nevada death sentence over 1982 murder is thrown out

  Nevada death sentence over 1982 murder is thrown out An inmate who has spent nearly 35 years on Nevada's death row for a 1982 murder outside Reno had his sentence overturned on Wednesday by a federal appeals court.The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called it a "flagrant violation" of Tracy Petrocelli's constitutional rights to a lawyer and against self-incrimination when a psychiatrist who examined him at the behest of prosecutors was allowed to testify during his trial's penalty phase.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal agency is prohibiting a ranger from testifying about his stolen gun used to fatally shoot a California woman, whose 2015 death was referenced repeatedly by then-candidate Donald Trump to underscore his call to deport criminals living in the country illegally.

Lopez-Sanchez, the man accused of killing Steinle , is still waiting for his murder trial to be scheduled. He is set to appear in court Friday, July 14 Gonzalez also said the ranger ' s testimony is required to show the shooting was the culmination of a series of tragic accidents rather than an intentional act.

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SAN FRANCISCO — A federal agency is prohibiting a ranger from testifying about his stolen gun used to fatally shoot a California woman, whose 2015 death was referenced repeatedly by then-candidate Donald Trump to underscore his call to deport criminals living in the country illegally.

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The trial began October 23, 2017, with opening statements and a brief testimony from Steinle ' s father.[38] On "Key witness for prosecution in Kate Steinle trial faces police misconduct claims in federal court". " In Steinle murder trial , jurors must seek truth within tragic and 'bizarre' shooting".

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, charged in Ms. Steinle ’ s death, was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges on Thursday.CreditCreditPaul Chinn/San Francisco His sentence could range from 16 months to three years. Mr. Zarate has already spent more than two years in county jail awaiting trial .

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Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, who was deported five times, admits fatally shooting Kate Steinle while she walked with her father on a San Francisco pier crowded with tourists. He has said the shooting was accidental and has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

Two years after the killing, the case is inching closer to trial. But Lopez-Sanchez' lawyers are now wrangling with the Department of Interior over whether Bureau of Land Management ranger John Woychowski can be called as a witness.

Woychowski's handgun was used to kill Steinle, a 26-year-old San Francisco Bay Area native. The ranger reported it stolen from the backseat of his car a few days before Lopez-Sanchez, 54, said he found it wrapped in a T-shirt on the pier and it accidentally fired as he handled it.

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Federal Ranger ' s Testimony Sought in Steinle Murder Trial . Garcia Zarate, 54, has acknowledged shooting Steinle in the back. He has said he was handling the handgun when it accidentally fired.

"While the State of California sought a murder charge for the man who caused Ms. Steinle ' s death -- a man who would San Francisco' s "sanctuary city" law bars local officials from cooperating with federal attempts to deport those in Much of the testimony during the trial has focused on ballistics experts.

A judge will decide next week whether the BLM ranger is required to honor the state court's subpoena to testify or whether lawyers for Lopez-Sanchez will have to comply with federal guidelines requiring them to ask the agency for permission to question the ranger.

Lopez-Sanchez's lawyer, Matt Gonzalez, said Woychowski can discuss the condition and features of the .40-caliber SIG Sauer P226 handgun.

Gonzalez also said the ranger's testimony is required to show the shooting was the culmination of a series of tragic accidents rather than an intentional act.

"His negligence started the chain of events that resulted in the gun ending up on the pier," Gonzalez told reporters outside court Friday.

Dan Horowitz, a veteran Bay Area criminal defense attorney, said Lopez-Sanchez's lawyers likely want the ranger's testimony to discuss the condition of the gun and whether the position of the trigger and the chambering of bullets could have led to an accidental discharge.

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Pier 14 Shooting Suspect Will Stand Trial on Murder Charge. Gonzalez also said the ranger ' s testimony is required to show the shooting was the culmination of a series of tragic A federal judge in May tossed out a wrongful death lawsuit Steinle 's family filed against San Francisco for releasing

Murder trial of illegal immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, charged with 2015 shooting of Kate Steinle , will steer Zarate said that he returned to the US seeking employment, and came to The handgun was issued to a Bureau of Land Management ranger who had reported it stolen from his parked car in

FILE - This undated photo provided by the San Francisco Police Department shows Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. It’s been two years since Kate Steinle was randomly gunned down on a busy San Francisco pier in a shooting that set off a fierce national immigration debate. Lopez-Sanchez, the man accused of killing Steinle, is still waiting for his murder trial to be scheduled. He is set to appear in court Friday, July 14, 2017, when a trial date may get set. (San Francisco Police Department via AP, File)© The Associated Press FILE - This undated photo provided by the San Francisco Police Department shows Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. It’s been two years since Kate Steinle was randomly gunned down on a busy San Francisco pier in a shooting that set off a fierce national immigration debate. Lopez-Sanchez, the man accused of killing Steinle, is still waiting for his murder trial to be scheduled. He is set to appear in court Friday, July 14, 2017, when a trial date may get set. (San Francisco Police Department via AP, File) Horowitz also said the defense wants to show the ranger mishandled his firearm "to support their defense that this was a tragedy of errors."

Lopez-Sanchez had been convicted five times of illegally re-entering the United States when the San Francisco sheriff released him from jail after a minor marijuana charge was dismissed. Lopez-Sanchez was released despite a request from federal immigration officials to detain him for possible deportation.

Trump and others seized on Steinle's death to argue that the nation needs tougher immigration policies, including prohibiting cities like San Francisco from refusing to cooperate with federal authorities on deportation matters.

Federal agent whose gun was used in Kate Steinle killing is IDd

  Federal agent whose gun was used in Kate Steinle killing is IDd The federal officer whose stolen service pistol fired the bullet that killed Kate Steinle in 2015, touching off a national furor over immigration policies, has been identified in court papers as an award-winning Bureau of Land Management ranger based in Southern California. John Woychowski, 37, has been subpoenaed by the defense to testify in the case against Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the often-deported Mexican immigrant who is headed for trial on charges of murdering Steinle.Woychowski, who lives in the small town of Imperial, was traveling through San Francisco on June 27, 2015, and had parked his car downtown when the Sig Sauer .

The gun had been stolen four days earlier from the nearby parked car of a federal ranger , but the burglary remains unsolved. Throughout the trial , attorney Matt Gonzalez of the public defender’ s office sought to characterize the ricochet as proof that Steinle ’ s death had been a tragic accident that

Federal prosecutors file new charges in Kate Steinle case. Lawyers for Jose Ines Garcia Zarate on Thursday claimed the judge presiding over Kate Steinle ' s murder trial failed to properly instruct jurors before they acquitted him in her murder .

Inside court on Friday, a judge said he hoped to set a trial date for Lopez-Sanchez next week. Prosecutors and defense lawyers said they're ready to start, but so far there's been no available courtroom to hold the trial.

Gonzalez said he hasn't applied for BLM permission for the ranger to testify because the department's application requires the defense to disclose confidential trial strategy.

Woychowski said he stored the loaded handgun in a backpack, which he left in the backseat of his car parked in downtown San Francisco when it was stolen during a period when the city was experiencing an epidemic of car burglaries.

Agency spokeswoman Sarah Webster declined to comment on whether Woychowski was disciplined.

Woychowski, who lives in El Centro, California, about 120 miles (193 kilometers) east of San Diego, did not respond to an email sent to his work address. A listed phone number rang unanswered.

The victim's parents, Jim Steinle and Liz Sullivan, declined comment through their attorney.

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2015, Jim Steinle blamed "disjointed laws" and "basic incompetence on many levels" for his daughter's death.

"Our family realizes the complexity of immigration laws. However, we feel strongly that some legislation should be discussed, enacted or changed to take these undocumented felons off our streets for good," Steinle told the committee.

Last month, at the urging of Trump, the U.S. House passed a bill known as "Kate's Law" that would impose harsher prison sentences on deportees who re-enter the United States.

The House also passed another bill that would bar federal grants to sanctuary cities and allow victims of crimes committed by immigrants in the country illegally to sue those cities. Both bills await action in the Senate.

A federal judge in May tossed out a wrongful death lawsuit Steinle's family filed against San Francisco for releasing Lopez-Sanchez from jail. The family's lawsuit against BLM was allowed to continue.

Feds reviewing Ohio police shooting of unarmed black man .
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