SAN ANGELO, Texas — Nearly two years after Victor Omar Duarte was found fatally shot in a north San Angelo residence, the man who pulled the trigger, then ran away, pleaded guilty in court Wednesday to charges of manslaughter and tampering with evidence.
According to the Texas Penal Code, manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable between 2-20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
On July 17, 2019, Xavior Rudolph Arzola stood before 119th District Court Judge Ben Woodward and pleaded guilty to fatally shooting Duarte, who had recently graduated from Central High School (San Angelo, Texas) in 2017.
“The only thing keeping our family together is knowing he finally gets to see and be with his dad,” who died (in July the same year Duarte was born), said his sister, Victoria Duarte during an interview two years ago.
Duarte, 18, was found dead just after 5:30 a.m. on July 19, 2017, when San Angelo police responded to a shooting in the 1800 block of Edmund Boulevard. A witness said several people fled the residence after the shooting.
Duarte was on the Central football team and received a special teams award at the 2016 Central Football Team Awards ceremony. He had made plans to attend Angelo State University.
Woodward deliberated on arguments made by attorneys for both sides, then sentenced Arzola to 11 years in prison. Arzola also was ordered to pay $5,993.68 in restitution.
State of Texas vs. Xavior Arzola
Police worked through the morning to identify and find the people present during the shooting. Arzola, then 19 of San Angelo, was found in the 2200 block of Raney Street and later charged on suspicion of manslaughter, records state.
According to detectives, Arzola was in the Edmund Boulevard residence with Duarte and several other people when Arzola “recklessly handled a firearm” and caused it to discharge and strike Duarte.
Police believed drug use played a role in the shooting, according to a news release.
November 2017: Arzola arrested at Sunset Mall with gun
In November 2017, Arzola was arrested at Sunset Mall after police were called to investigate a car alarm in the mall’s parking lot.
Police initially thought a vehicle burglary was in progress and detained two 20-year-old men at the scene, according to a release.
However, the vehicle’s owner — Arzola — came out of the mall and told police the men had consent to be in the car.
Police said they found a semi-automatic handgun where one of the detained men had been seated, according to the release.
Arzola — who had been out on a $2,500 bond in the manslaughter of Duarte — was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.
August 2018: Arzola arrested twice in the same week on narcotics charges
While still facing manslaughter charges, Arzola was arrested twice in August 2018 on drug possession charges, according to court documents.
Police conducted a surveillance operation on Aug. 20, 2018, at an apartment in the 2400 block of Lillie Street when investigators say Arzola drove to the apartment, went inside, and left minutes later.
Arzola was pulled over by officers at a traffic stop on Houston Street where a K-9 unit alerted police for narcotics.
Officers searched the vehicle and found a clear plastic bag in the backseat that contained a “white powdery substance” believed to be cocaine.
Arzola spent two days in Tom Green County Jail before being released Aug. 22 on $7,500 bond, according to online jail records.
Less than 24 hours later, deputies arrested Arzola again for the same charge, records state.