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Trial date remains unset for undocumented man accused of killing Kate Steinle

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Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, right, is lead into the courtroom by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, left, and Assistant District Attorney Diana Garcia for arraignment on July 7, 2015. (Michael Macor/2015 San Francisco Chronicle via Pool)

A date has yet to be set for when an undocumented Mexican man will stand trial for allegedly killing a San Francisco woman on a pier in 2015.

Thirty-two-year-old Kate Steinle was shot and killed July 1, 2015, allegedly by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, 54. Lopez-Sanchez did not appear in court Tuesday morning during a brief hearing on the case, which was put over to Friday.

After allegedly throwing the stolen weapon he used to killed Steinle into the San Francisco Bay and fleeing the Pier 14 scene, Lopez-Sanchez was arrested that same day and was subsequently charged with murder.

Lopez-Sanchez has pleaded not guilty and is set to have his trial date scheduled Friday before Judge Garrett Wong in San Francisco Superior Court.

Lopez-Sanchez’s lawyers contend that the gun went off by accident, and evidence presented in his preliminary hearing showed that the bullet that killed Steinle was a ricochet.

The case has been controversial because of the part The City’s sanctuary policy played in releasing Lopez-Sanchez several months before the killing. Since he had not been convicted of any violent felonies, Lopez-Sanchez — who was deported back to Mexico five times — was released after he was brought to The City on a years-old drug possession warrant.

His record mostly consisted of convictions for illegally entering the U.S.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez appeared in court Tuesday. He did not make an appearance at Tuesday’s hearing.


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