A Helmeted Guinea Fowl (Photo from carolinabirds.org)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
Police released new information Monday about two University of Berkeley, CA, law students accused of beheading an exotic bird at the Flamingo hotel and casino.
The men, identified as Eric Cuellar, 24, and Justin Teixeira, 24, are accused of killing a 14-year-old Helmeted Guinea Fowl named Turk, part of the Flamingo's Wildlife Habitat.
Metro police said they received a call at 9:35 a.m. on Friday reporting that two men were being detained by hotel security for the bird's killing.
Surveillance video captured the two chasing the bird into trees. A witness told police the men then emerged from the trees, carrying the body and severed head of the bird.
"I (expletive) killed wildlife," said Teixeira to Cuellar, as he reportedly threw the body of the dead bird to him, a witness told police.
The suspects were arrested and refused to talk to police. Both asked to speak to lawyers.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said criminal charges have not been officially filed yet but are likely to come in the next few weeks.
"We don't have all the evidence yet," said Wolfson. "We've requested the surveillance video so that we can have everything in before making the charging decisions."
Cuellar and Teixeira face felony charges of conspiracy and willful, malicious torture/killing of wildlife.
"What kind of depraved mind decides to crawl over a fence of a habitat and kill an animal?" said Gina Greisen with Nevada Voters For Animals.
Greisen wants the students to be charged under Cooney's Law, which was passed last year. That law makes the intentional killing of an animal a felony in Nevada.
The UC Berkeley School of Law confirmed Monday that Cuellar and Teixeira are students at the school.
"I'm extremely troubled by news accounts of the students' actions off campus, but it's up to the Nevada legal system to examine the facts and rule in this case," said Christopher Edley Jr., dean of UC Berkeley School of Law. "It's premature to speculate about any possible consequences; the justice system must run its course."
Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 or leave it online at www.crimestoppersofnv.com.
Stay tuned to FOX5 for the latest on this developing story.
Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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