Animal Law, Boalt Hall, Crime, Deaths, Law Schools, Violence

So Much for Flying South: The Alleged Berkeley Bird Beheaders Have Been Criminally Charged


District Attorney Steven Wolfson filed criminal charges today against the law students who allegedly participated in the harassment and eventual killing of an exotic bird at a Las Vegas Strip resort in October.

Justin Teixeira, 24, was charged with killing another person’s animal (felony), torturing, overdriving, injuring or abandoning animals (felony), conspiracy to torture, harass or abandon animals (gross misdemeanor), and instigating, engaging in or furthering an act of cruelty to an animal (misdemeanor). If convicted on all counts, Teixeira could be sentenced to time in prison, county jail time, probation, and/or other punishments as provided by law.

Eric Cuellar, 24, was charged with instigating, engaging in or furthering an act of cruelty to an animal (misdemeanor). If convicted, Cuellar could face a sentence of two days to six months in jail, 48 to 120 hours of community service, and a $200 to $1,000 fine, and any other appropriate punishment.

The charges are related to their alleged roles in the Oct. 12 death of a 14-year-old Helmeted Guinea Fowl named Turk that resided in the Flamingo’s Wildlife Habitat.

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

The investigation into the death of the exotic bird is ongoing and could result in criminal charges against one or more additional individuals.

Teixeira and Cuellar were arrested Oct. 12 and released on bond. Both are students at the law school at the University of California, Berkeley.

With the filing of criminal charges against them today, Teixeira and Cuellar will be back in Las Vegas Township Justice Court Feb. 11 for their arraignment.

D.A. Files Criminal Charges Against Law Students in Death of Resort’s Exotic Bird [Clark County DA’s Office]
Cal law students charged in decapitation of exotic bird at Strip wildlife habitat [Las Vegas Sun]

Earlier: In Defense of the Alleged Berkeley Bird Murderers
The Accused Berkeley Bird Beheaders: The Arrest Report, The Dean’s Reaction, and More
A Closer Look at the Alleged Berkeley Bird Murderers
Law Students of the Weekend: Alleged Berkeley Bird Beheaders

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