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A Texas man was sentenced to probation on Wednesday for his actions that resulted in the death of a teenage boy who threw feces at his doorstep in 2022. 

Xavier Zarate will remain on probation for 10 years for the death of Brett Cardenas as part of a plea deal with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, Fox 7 reported. 

“One thing that I do believe is that you will live in your own personal prison,” the teen’s mother, Donna Cardenas, said as she addressed Zarate in court after sentencing.  

The incident happened on April 10, 2022, when two 13-year-olds threw feces on Zarate’s doorstep, the news outlet reported. Zarate told police he had an ongoing issue with the teens. 


He chased the teens in his vehicle before getting out and punching one of them. However, he forgot to put the car in park and it rolled over Cardenas. The boy later died at a hospital. 

Do you have any idea what it feels like to want to hear someone’s voice so badly that the silence makes you want to scream?” said his sister, Kaylee Ana Cardenas.

In court, Zarate apologized to the family and said his actions were “not out of malice. It was an accident, but it doesn’t matter. Brett is not with us today, and I bear some responsibility for that, and I take full responsibility for that judge and I will struggle with this for the rest of my life.”

“In a better world, maybe when you lash out in anger and kill a 13-year-old boy, you need to be in jail,” the teen’s brother, Felix Cardenas, said in court. “But the risk of getting less than what he got was still there. So we just wanted to get this over with.”


In a statement, the Travis County District Attorney’s office said it felt for the family of the boy and defended Zarate’s sentence. 

“Our hearts go out to the family for the tragic loss of their young son. Our office approaches every case the same way: we spend time reviewing the facts of the case, work with the family, and consider what, if anything, can be done to ensure that defendants are held accountable for their actions, the DA’s office said. “While we can never bring back the child whose life was lost, this sentence will ensure the defendant is held accountable with two felony convictions, is supervised by the Courts for a long period of time, that the defendant is able to pay the restitution, has a final conviction in which defendant has waived their right to appeal, and that justice is served.”

Austin skyline

Zarate’s attorney said his client had a “deep-felt sadness” and prays for the Cardenas family every day. 

“Nothing that could have been done today in court would bring Brett back, but hopefully by Xavier accepting responsibility for his actions, this resolution will bring some closure for everyone to try and heal,” said attorney Rick Flores. 

As part of his probation, Zarate will be required to complete 300 hours of community service, go to therapy and group anger management, and pay the family around $17,000 in restitution.


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