The Jury Talks Back


Kate Steinle’s Killer Acquitted

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 6:43 pm

I didn’t see the trial, so I don’t know if the verdict was rational or irrational. However, only in the last few days did I learn some facts that made it sound like a tough case. It was a single ricochet shot off pavement. The interview was poorly conducted and failed to clearly establish that he pulled the trigger, due to a translation issue. I am not shocked by the verdict and it may be right.

Fortunately, a bunch of Internet randos are going to become instant experts on California murder law. It’s already happening on Twitter. Hip hip hooray.


  1. Okay, could someone who is knowledgeable on California law please explain to me any possible way the killer is not guilty of the involuntary manslaughter charge?

    He was convicted of felon in possession of a firearm. He was thus, by the jury’s own judgement, committing a crime when the killing occurred. And the killing could not have occurred without said crime. So what possible grounds are there for “not guilty” on involuntary manslaughter?

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 11/30/2017 @ 9:56 pm

  2. It’s my understanding that he was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a gun. But the jury did not find he had the intent to kill (so no murder conviction) or that he recklessly discharged the gun (so no manslaughter).

    We don’t know for sure but it appears the jury’s manslaughter verdict was based on the defense argument that the gun discharged accidentally but not recklessly. There was evidence this gun was wrapped in cloth and Garcia did not know what it was until he picked it up and it discharged. In addition, there was evidence it was a gun designed for law enforcement and had a hair trigger that could go off when touched. Finally, the evidence showed the shot traveled 78 feet and ricocheted off the concrete/ground before hitting Steinle, suporting the defense argument that it was an accident.

    Popehat suggested the prosecution’s decision to focus on murder made it harder to convincingly argue for manslaughter. IMO this case is a much better fit for manslaughter, but the prosecutors may not have had all the facts the defense had — the defense has no duty to share information with the State — or the prosecutors may have been overconfident.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/1/2017 @ 7:03 am

  3. I have a new lawsplainer up on this.

    Comment by Patterico — 12/1/2017 @ 7:34 am

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