A firearms expert called by the defense in the San Francisco murder trial over the 2015 slaying of Kathryn Steinle testified Monday that the gun used to kill her was likely less than 2 feet off the ground when the fatal shot was fired.
James Norris, a former San Francisco criminalist and director of the Police Department's forensics division, was the first witness called by attorneys for defendant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate.
The bulk of Norris' testimony focused on the bullet's behavior after it ricocheted off the concrete of a pedestrian pier and flew approximately 78 feet to hit Steinle in the lower back. He said the bullet's path after the ricochet was impossible to predict, aligning with the defense argument that Garcia Zarate didn't mean to shoot Steinle.
"It loses its accuracy immediately when it strikes the ground," Norris said from the witness stand. He said it might have changed direction to the right or to the left.
"It's like one of these experiments you can do many times and get a slightly different result," he testified.