SAN FRANCISCO - Chilling photos emerged Tuesday in the case of a man accused of killing a San Francisco woman on Pier 14 this summer in a story that touched off a national debate regarding immigration policy.
Francisco Lopez Sanchez, who is an illegal immigrant, appeared in court Tuesday for his preliminary hearing.
Three police officers took the stand. Each of them described witness testimony and provided photos that were part of evidence.
The most haunting was a picture taken by a tourist on the pier that showed a man police believe is the suspect sitting in a chair on the pier while the victim, Kate Steinle, walked by only inches away.
Media weren't allowed to show photos that were presented in court, but KTVU obtained another pictures weeks ago, taken from Steinle's cell phone.
It was the last picture she would ever take, a selfie of her, her father and a family friend.
In court Tuesday, Lopez Sanchez appeared gaunt. He didn't say anything, but he could be seen tapping his leg nervously throughout the proceedings.
Cameras in court were not allowed to show faces or photos presented as evidence. Most were taken July 1st around 6:30 p.m. that night. One photograph was taken by a tourist who was staying in a hotel called the Griffith, across the street from the pier.
She said she heard a bang, ran to the window and saw people running toward the victim.
A man was briskly walking away from the scene in dark clothing. She thought it seemed odd, so she snapped photos.
Another woman walking along the pier heard the gunshot, turned and noticed an object being tossed off the pier and plunk into the water. Then a man she describes as Lopez-Sanchez pulled a hoodie over his head and ran off.
Within an hour of the shooting, police spotted the suspect running along the Embarcadero near Townsend Street and arrested him. Officers said he initially gave a false name.
We saw photos of Lopez Sanchez in the police interrogation room. SFPD Inspectors described how they bluffed about having gun powder residue as evidence.
They said the suspect then admitted to firing the gun. An SFPD dive team recovered the firearm the next day in the Bay off Pier 14.
All of Tuesday's proceedings will help determine if this case goes to trial. Experts expect that it will.
Some have called Lopez Sanchez not competent to stand trial. He can be declared mentally incompetent right up until trial begins.
The defendant will be back in court Wednesday at 9:45 a.m. Public Defender Matt Gonzalez says ballistic evidence will be presented.
It just so happens that the final autopsy report for Steinle came out Tuesday. It listed the cause of death as a gunshot wound to the torso.
Based on how the bullet entered her back, the San Francisco Medical Examiner believes it could have been the result of a ricochet. The bullet appears to have struck two main blood vessels that run along the spinal cord. Steinle suffered severe hemorrhaging in the stomach.