Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez.

Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez.

Suspect in Kathryn Steinle killing appears in court

The man accused of killing a 32-year-old woman on Pier 14 on July 1 appeared in court on Wednesday for a status hearing and is due to return to court next week to set a preliminary hearing date.

Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of Kathryn Steinle, who died while walking with her father along Pier 14 near the Ferry Building.

On Wednesday, Lopez-Sanchez appeared in Judge Daniel Flores’ Superior Court room with his public defender Matt Gonzalez. Lopez-Sanchez wore his jail-issued orange jumpsuit and handcuffs. He was expressionless, said nothing and stared down when he entered the courtroom.

Lopez-Sanchez is expected to return to court to set his preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. July 28.

The case has touched a nerve nationwide, sparking debate over immigration reform and so-called sanctuary policies used by hundreds of municipalities in the U.S., including San Francisco, that bar cooperation with federal officials over certain deportation requests.

Lopez-Sanchez is an undocumented Mexican citizen who has spent years in jail in the U.S. for illegally entering the country on numerous occasions and for drug-related convictions in Washington, Oregon and Arizona.

After his latest stint ended in March, he was tranferred to San Francisco on a drug possession warrant from the early 1990s. After those charges were dropped, he was released from custody despite a detainer request from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation.

Under San Francisco law, such requests are ignored unless the person has a history of violent crime convictions or is currently charged with a violent crime.

This week, Congress began debating possible penalties the government could impose on municipalities that have sanctuary laws, such as withholding certain federal funding. And on Tuesday, San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell announced a proposal to reform The City’s Due Process for All Ordinance. Among the changes would be to rescind Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s policy that bars most communication with ICE.CrimeJuan Francisco Lopez-SanchezKathryn SteinleMark FarrellMexicoRoss MirkarimiSan Franciscosanctuary city

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