Accused Pier 14 shooter pleads not guilty to murder

Francisco Sanchez, right, is lead into the courtroom by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, left, and Assistant District Attorney Diana Garciaor, center, for his arraignment at the Hall of Justice on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 in San Francisco. Prosecutors have charged the Mexican immigrant with murder in the waterfront shooting death of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle. (Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, Pool)

Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the man accused of killing 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle on Pier 14, on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to murder.

Appearing shaky and nervous, Lopez-Sanchez appeared in San Francisco Superior Court at his afternoon arraignment hearing in an orange and black jumpsuit, saying in Spanish three separate times “I am not guilty” of the charges related to the shooting death of Steinle.

His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Matt Gonzalez, said the fatal shooting appears to have been an accident.

Lopez-Sanchez allegedly shot Steinle in the chest with a pistol last Wednesday while she walked with her father on the pier along The Embarcadero.

She was taken to a local hospital and later pronounced dead.

Soon after the shooting, officers detained Lopez-Sanchez as he was walking away from the scene along The Embarcadero. He was placed under arrest Thursday on suspicion of murder.

Lopez-Sanchez, whose age hasn’t been verified, was previously convicted of seven nonviolent felonies. He recently served five years in a federal prison in Victorville before being sent to San Francisco on a drug warrant March 26. Those drug charges were eventually dropped.

In addition to murder, Lopez-Sanchez faces two firearm enhancements.

Lopez-Sanchez remains at the County Jail in lieu of $5 million bail.

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