A judge on Tuesday refused to dismiss a second-degree murder charge against the illegal immigrant accused of fatally shooting a woman who was strolling on a city pier last summer in a case that sparked a national uproar over immigration policy.
Attorneys for Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez had asked the judge to throw out the charge in the death of Kate Steinle, 32, arguing that police had improperly detained him for seven to eight hours before questioning him.
But San Francisco Superior Court Judge James P. Collins denied the request in a quick hearing, ruling that police acted properly in arresting Lopez-Sanchez based on witnesses’ cellphone photos and descriptions of a disheveled man leaving the chaotic scene.
Steinle, a former Pleasanton resident, was walking on Pier 14 when she was shot in the back July 1. As she collapsed into her father’s arms, Jim Steinle said, her dying words were: “Help me, Dad.”