Student pleads guilty in exotic bird death - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Student pleads guilty 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)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

One of the two California law students accused of harassing and killing an exotic bird at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino has entered a plea.

Eric Cuellar, 24, has pleaded guilty to a charge of torture, injuring, abandoning or starving an animal.

His alleged accomplice, 24-year-old Justin Teixeira, is scheduled for arraignment on Feb. 11, 2013 at 8 a.m.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson in December filed criminal charges against the two. Both defendants are law students at the University of California-Berkeley.

The two are accused of killing a helmeted Guinea fowl at the Flaming Wildlife Habitat on Oct. 12 2012. 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.

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

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