The lawyer for a Mexican national charged with fatally shooting a young San Francisco woman as she walked on a city pier wants his client’s murder charge dismissed, saying the killing that rekindled the national debate over illegal immigration was an accident.

The judge canceled a hearing scheduled for Friday, saying he wants more time to consider the issue. Attorneys will argue the matter on March 24.

Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and other charges in the death of Kate Steinle, 32. His lawyer, Matt Gonzalez, says the charge is too harsh because the shooting was inadvertent.

Steinle was shot in the back during an evening stroll with her father and a family friend along San Francisco’s popular waterfront on July 1. She died in her father’s arms.

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