DA files charges against students in exotic bird death - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

DA files charges against students in exotic bird death

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Eric Cuellar (LVMPD) Eric Cuellar (LVMPD)
Justin Teixeira (LVMPD) Justin Teixeira (LVMPD)
A Helmeted Guinea Fowl (Photo from carolinabirds.org) A Helmeted Guinea Fowl (Photo from carolinabirds.org)

District Attorney Steven Wolfson on Thursday filed criminal charges against two law students accused of harassing and killing an exotic bird at the Flamingo hotel and casino.

Justin Teixeira, 24, and Eric Cuellar, 24, are accused of killing a Helmeted Guinea Fowl at the hotel's Wildlife Habitat back on Oct. 12. Both are law students at University of California, Berkeley.

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.

Teixeira is charged with killing another person's animal - a felony - and torture and harassment of an animal. If convicted, Teixeira could be sentenced to prison, county jail time, probation or other punishments.

Cuellar is charged with engaging in or furthering an act of cruelty to an animal, a misdemeanor. If convicted, Cuellar could face a sentence of two days to six months in jail, community service and up to a $1,000 fine.

"This was a cruel and malicious act," Wolfson said. "It is important to hold people accountable for their actions."

The suspects were arrested on Oct. 12 and released on bond. Both are scheduled for arraignment in Justice Court on Feb. 11.

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