DA charges suspect with murder in deadly Pier 14 shooting

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - One week after Kate Steinle was shot and killed in San Francisco, the district attorney there has decided to charge Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez with her murder.

But can prosecutors make that stick? "In a homicide case you most often start with (the) most serious charge that the evidence can support," says Professor Rory Little of UC Hastings College of the Law.

Little says in most homicide cases the DA usually starts with the most serious of charges the evidence can support and work his way down.

"He doesn't even have to be aiming at her to get first degree murder, he just has to be aiming where there are people. Who he accidentally hits or otherwise it doesn't matter," says Little.

The public defender representing Sanchez is already suggesting it could have been an accident.

"This very well good be a completely accidental discharge of a firearm," says Public Defender Matt Gonzalez.

"We've charged this case as murder and we do so based on the evidence and at this point the charges are appropriate," says Alex Bastian Assistant District Attorney.

Tuesday Sanchez went before the judge and entered a plea of not guilty.

Gonzalez says although Sanchez may have first stated he was responsible for the shooting. His client is not well versed in the law. Still the DA believes it has enough evidence to support their charge. But professor Little says he feels this case will never go before a jury.

"I'd be surprised if you ever saw this case go to trial. I'd predict that there will be a plea. Because the risk is there that the community's anger and outrage and sympathetic victim will overwhelm."

Sanchez is being held on $5 million bail. He is scheduled to return to court on July 27th.