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The Latest: Trump: 'Disgraceful verdict' in pier shooting

Published: Thursday, November 30, 2017 @ 7:44 PM
Updated: Thursday, November 30, 2017 @ 7:42 PM

The Latest on the trial of a Mexican man in a killing on a San Francisco pier (all times local):

7:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump says there was a "disgraceful verdict" after a Mexican man was found not guilty of murder in a high-profile killing that touched off a fierce immigration debate.

Trump's tweet comes three hours after Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was found not guilty in the killing of Kate Steinle. Jurors did convict him of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Trump says it is "no wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration."

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when the shooting happened. He said it was an accident.

Under a sanctuary city law, the San Francisco sheriff's department had released Garcia Zarate from jail despite a federal immigration request to detain him for deportation

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7:20 p.m.

U.S. immigration officials say they will deport a Mexican man acquitted of murder in the shooting of woman on a San Francisco pier that touched off a fierce debate over immigration.

Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan said Thursday that immigration officials will take custody of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate once his case concludes.

A jury found Garcia Zarate not guilty in the 2015 death of Kate Steinle. Jurors did convict him of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when the shooting happened. He said it was an accident.

Under a sanctuary city law, the San Francisco sheriff's department had released Garcia Zarate from jail despite a federal immigration request to detain him for deportation

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6:20 p.m.

The father of a woman who was shot and killed on a San Francisco pier said he was shocked when a jury acquitted a Mexican immigrant accused of murder in the case.

Jim Steinle told the San Francisco Chronicle the family was saddened and shocked by Thursday's verdict.

He said, "justice was rendered but not served."

A jury found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty in the killing of Kate Steinle, who was strolling with her father on a crowded San Francisco pier when she was shot in 2015.

Garcia Zarate did not deny shooting Steinle and said it was an accident.

The Steinle family did not attend court to hear the verdict.

They spoke to the Chronicle in an exclusive interview that they said would be their last public comments.

Her father said the family has felt frustration and sadness but not anger or vindictiveness since the killing.

Even if Garcia Zarate had received a sentence of 100 years, the father said, "it doesn't solve anything, it doesn't help anything."

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5:45 p.m.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he hopes local officials will "consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens" by not cooperating with federal immigration officials.

His comments come after a Mexican man was found not guilty Thursday of killing a woman on a San Francisco pier in a case that touched off a national immigration debate.

Sessions says San Francisco's "decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death" of Kate Steinle.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when Kate Steinle was fatally shot in the back in 2015. Garcia Zarate said the shooting was an accident.

Under a sanctuary city law, the San Francisco sheriff's department had released Garcia Zarate from jail despite a federal immigration request to detain him for deportation

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5:30 p.m.

A spokesman for the San Francisco district attorney says the acquittal of a Mexican man in a high-profile killing was not the verdict they had hoped for.

A jury on Thursday found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty on possible charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Kate Steinle on a popular pier.

Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the San Francisco prosecutor's office, said the "verdict that came in today was not the one we were hoping for" but it was the jury's decision and prosecutors would respect it.

Jurors did find Garcia Zarate guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi said that charge carries a potential sentence of 16 months to 3 years.

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5:10 p.m.

A defense lawyer for a Mexican man acquitted of murder in the shooting of woman in San Francisco directed a message to President Donald Trump, who had frequently cited the case during his campaign for tougher immigration policies.

Defense attorney Francisco Ugarte said Thursday the death of Kate Steinle was an "incomprehensible tragedy," but the ruling was a vindication for immigrants.

Ugarte said the case was used "to foment hate" and used "to catapult a presidency along that philosophy of hate of others."

He said the immigration status of defendant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate had no relevance to the case and the verdict was a correct reflection of what transpired.

Garcia Zarate did not deny shooting Steinle in 2015 and said it was an accident.

He had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when Steinle was fatally shot in the back in 2015.

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4:35 p.m.

Jurors have found a Mexican man not guilty of murder in the killing of a woman on a San Francisco pier in a case that touched off a national immigration debate.

The jury reached the verdict Thursday in Kate Steinle's death.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when Steinle was fatally shot in the back in 2015. Garcia Zarate didn't deny shooting Steinle and said it was an accident.

Before the shooting, the San Francisco sheriff's department had released him from jail despite a federal immigration request to detain him for deportation.

Its "sanctuary city" law limits cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.

President Donald Trump cited the case during his campaign in a bid to show the country needed tougher immigration policies.

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3:30 p.m.

A jury has reached a verdict in the trial of a Mexican man accused of killing a woman on a San Francisco pier in a case that touched off a national immigration debate.

Jurors alerted the judge Thursday that they had a verdict in the death of Kate Steinle. Word came hours after they asked to see the gun used in the shooting.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when Steinle was fatally shot in the back in 2015. Garcia Zarate said the shooting was an accident.

Under a sanctuary city law, the San Francisco sheriff's department had released Garcia Zarate from jail despite a federal immigration request to detain him for deportation.

President Donald Trump frequently cited the case during his campaign.

Woman accused of killing father, encasing body in concrete for weeks

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 5:20 PM

Dayna Jennings, left, is accused of killing her 69-year-old father, William Mussack, encasing his body in concrete and stashing it in the crawl space of his Federal Heights, Colorado, home. Mussack's remains were discovered Jan. 10, 2018, about five weeks after he was last seen or heard from.
Adams County Jail/Federal Heights Police Department
Dayna Jennings, left, is accused of killing her 69-year-old father, William Mussack, encasing his body in concrete and stashing it in the crawl space of his Federal Heights, Colorado, home. Mussack's remains were discovered Jan. 10, 2018, about five weeks after he was last seen or heard from.(Adams County Jail/Federal Heights Police Department)

In William Mussack’s final text conversation with his son on Dec. 7, the Colorado man relayed a chilling fear: he believed his daughter may have poisoned his food. 

“William described the feeling of being drugged and falling asleep in a recliner chair for 15 hours,” an arrest affidavit obtained by KDVR in Denver read. “He recalled taking a bite from a hamburger, and the hamburger was still on the end table with one bite taken out of it when he awoke.”

Mussack, 69, told his son, Brian Mussack, that his daughter, Dayna Michele Jennings, gave him the hamburger. The day after that discussion, William Mussack vanished. 

Five weeks later, Mussack’s body was found encased in concrete in the crawl space of his Federal Heights home. Jennings, 44, is charged with first-degree murder with extreme indifference and is being held without bond in the Adams County Jail.

>> Read more trending news

The investigation into Mussack’s disappearance began on Dec. 28, when his brother, Robert Mussack, called the Federal Heights Police Department to request that officers do a welfare check on his brother, whom he had not heard from in several weeks, the affidavit read. It ended in investigators’ grisly discovery on Jan. 10.

Jennings, who was being questioned at the Police Department while a search warrant was executed at her father’s house, admitted to detectives that she poured concrete in the crawl space of the home. Her admissions and cooperation would soon end, however. 

“When Dayna was confronted with the information that investigators on scene were breaking up the concrete in the crawl space, she stated that she wished to speak with a lawyer,” the affidavit read. “At this time, the interview was ended.”

Robert Mussack and other family members and friends told detectives that it was not like William Mussack to go days or weeks without speaking to his loved ones. The last time any of them heard from him was Dec. 8, the day after he told his son about the suspicious hamburger. 

When an officer went to Mussack’s home to check on him on Dec. 28, Jennings told them her father no longer lived there and that she, too, had not seen him in several weeks.

Nothing at the home seemed amiss, so the officer left.

The following day, an officer once again went to the home after speaking to both Robert and Brian Mussack. Brian Mussack told investigators that, prior to that final Dec. 7 text conversation, he ordinarily heard from his father daily.

The concerned son told police officers he believed his sister knew where their father was, but was not telling anyone, according to the affidavit. Family members and William Mussack’s girlfriend all told investigators that the lack of communication was out of character for him, and that he always kept his cellphone with him.

Jennings claimed her father had forgotten his cellphone at the house before leaving on a mountain trip with his girlfriend. The girlfriend told police officers, however, that she last heard from Mussack on Dec. 8, when he agreed to go to a Christmas party with her the following day. 

Despite telling her to RSVP for him, he failed to show up at the party and she was never able to reach him again, the court document read. 

When the officer went inside Mussack’s house on the second visit, on Dec. 29, he noticed a bad smell he described as the smell of “sewage and something rotting,” the affidavit said. When Jennings allowed him to look around, the officer noticed that Mussack’s bed, located in the basement, was covered in women’s clothing and looked as though it hadn’t been used in weeks.

The officer paid a third visit to the home on Dec. 30, at which time Jennings refused to allow him inside. 

Family members received text messages from Mussack’s phone after police began searching for him, but investigators trying to locate the phone through the missing man’s cell service said the phone “pinged” from the area of his home -- even after his daughter claimed he’d stopped by, picked up the phone and some money and left again. 

Brian Mussack also told police officers that his sister sent him text messages claiming that that their father had been abusive toward her and that he couldn’t afford to make his house payment. Family and friends said Mussack was a mild-mannered man who was very frugal and had plenty of money set aside for his retirement.

Despite Jennings’ claims that her father no longer lived there, the house remained in William Mussack’s name, the affidavit said. Three vehicles registered to Mussack were in the driveway.

When a concerned friend texted Jennings on Jan. 5 asking about her father, Jennings responded that her father was in Arizona, “enjoying the sun,” the document said. Mussack’s family said he did not know anyone in Arizona. 

Further investigation showed that someone had been using Mussack’s bank account after he disappeared. Several items were purchased for Jennings from Amazon and a $500 check written to her was cashed on Dec. 29. 

A Wells Fargo branch manager told police that the signature on the check did not match Mussack’s signature, which the bank had on file. 

Jennings’ first husband, Joel Jennings, told police that his ex-wife “adored” her father, but that he believed she might have killed Mussack because it was not like his former father-in-law to disappear and not contact his family, the affidavit read. He described Dayna Jennings as “impulsive and irrational at times” and said her relationships with family members and friends were “intense and unstable.”

Joel Jennings also said that, during a visit to the house on Dec. 31, he saw flooring and carpet that his ex-wife had apparently pulled up and disposed of. Investigators learned that she ordered multiple dumpsters that were delivered to the home and parked out front for several days in December.  

Jennings told investigators that his ex-wife’s massage business, her sole source of income, folded in November. On her business website, The Good Massage, Dayna Jennings wrote on Dec. 1 that she was taking personal leave for a few months “to tend to family and personal needs.”

Joel Jennings told detectives that Dayna Jennings’ second husband, Chris Newton, also moved out of the Mussack home, where they were living together, in November.  Newton reportedly remarried Dec. 9, the day after Mussack was last heard from, the affidavit said

Driver backs up Cadillac Escalade into Florida lake

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 9:22 AM

Cadillac Escalade Gets Backed Up Into Florida Lake By Driver

A driver sank a Cadillac Escalade Tuesday while backing up his boat into Lake Weir, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.

The man, whose identity wasn't released, was reversing his SUV on a boat ramp at the Carney Island Recreation and Conservation Area when he was unable to put the vehicle back in park, deputies said.

>> Read more trending news 

The vehicle followed the boat into the lake, well past a pair of signs that bear an arrow and the words "caution end of ramp."

The driver escaped the vehicle and was uninjured.

Divers with the Sheriff's Office helped a tow truck driver retrieve the SUV from the water.

Click here for boating safety tips from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Doctor arrested for showing up for surgery inebriated, police say

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 2:49 PM

Kentucky Surgeon Arrested For Arriving To Work Drunk

A plastic surgeon showed up for surgery Monday while intoxicated and was arrested, according to police. 

>> Read more trending news

Dr. Theodore Gerstle was confronted by the chief medical officer at Baptist Health Lexington and then left the hospital on foot, according to WKYT

Police were then called and took Gerstle into custody. Gerstle was charged with public intoxication.

“Patient safety is always our number one concern,” Ruth Ann Childers, hopsital spokeswoman, told WKYT. “This will be thoroughly investigated.”

2 more Carnival cruise ships fail health inspections

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 1:23 PM

More Carnival Cruise Ships Fail Health Inspections

Two of the newest ships in the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet have received failing grades in health inspections designed to control the spread of gastrointestinal illnesses

Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze both scored below a passing grade of 86, the Miami Herald reported.Vista, the cruise line's newest ship, received a 79 while Breeze was given a 77. 

>> Read more trending news 

Vista's crew hid potentially hazardous food, equipment and dirty dishware from the inspectors from the Centers for Disease Control, the Herald reported. The buffet included fruit flies, and on-board illnesses were not documented appropriately, according to the December report by the CDC's Prevention’s Vessel Sanitation Program.

Previously, a November report cited a failing score of 78 for Carnival Triumph, an older ship that gained notoriety in 2013 when an engine room fire caused it to lose propulsion and left passengers with few working bathrooms and no air conditioning. 

RELATED: 300 who got sick on cruise ship back in South Florida

Three failing grades on three different ships within two months is fairly rare for a major cruise line, the Herald story said. Most failures involve smaller ships from lesser-known cruise lines, a maritime lawyer said.

Carnival said that the health and well-being of its guests and crew is its "foremost priority." Spokesman Jennifer De La Cruz said the company has "taken immediate action to address the issues identified during recent ship inspections."

Though it hasn't been published by the CDC, the Triumph was re-inspected and received a passing score of 98, De La Cruz said.