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Hearing Begins for Immigrant Charged in SF Pier Slaying

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Kate Steinle (right) was shot and killed on July 1, 2015 near San Francisco's Pier 14. In an interview with CNN affiliate KGO, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez (left) admitted that he shot Steinle but that the shooting was an accident. (Courtesy: SF Police Dep't/Steinle Family)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) —

A homicide investigator testified that the man who was being sought for deportation admitted to shooting and killing a young San Francisco woman on Pier 14.

But it still remains unclear whether Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez purposely or accidentally fired the shot that fatally struck Kate Steinle in the back July 1.

A preliminary hearing to determine if there’s enough evidence to schedule a murder trial continues Wednesday after three police detectives testified Tuesday.

Lopez-Sanchez has been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth removal from the country when he was released from San Francisco’s jail. He was released after local prosecutors dropped a two-decade old marijuana possession charge and despite federal officials requests to detain him further for deportation proceedings.

Lopez-Sanchez has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.