Dallas teen gets probation in Target beating case

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The teenager responsible for the attack of a well-known local actor outside a Target store in Dallas was sentenced to 10 years of probation.

According to a release from Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, 17-year-old Zantrell Sauls pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and one count of robbery.

Police said Sauls and another juvenile suspect beat Derek Whitener with a wooden rod on Jan. 14. Whitener had noticed them trying to open car doors in the parking lot of the Target on N. Haskell Avenue and reported them to a security guard.

They were asked to leave the property but came back to attack Whitener after he was done shopping and walked to his car. He suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.

The district attorney said Whitener approved the plea deal.

"We worked diligently and closely with the victim in this case for this outcome. His wishes were to make sure that Zantrell Sauls received an equitable punishment for his involvement and something comparable to the other defendant in this case," Johnson said. "The victim is focused on his recovery and putting this vicious crime behind him."

In addition to his 10 years of deferred adjudication, Sauls will be required to spend four months in jail.

“We want young adults who may be considering criminal behavior to know that probation does not mean you are beyond the eyes of the law. Because of Zantrell Sauls' actions, for the next 10 years, he will be closely monitored by the court. It is up to him to choose the right path,” Johnson said.

Sauls’ robbery charge stems from a separate incident that also happened on the same day.