Law students accused of killing exotic bird at Las Vegas casino
POSTED: Saturday, October 20, 2012 - 3:00pm
UPDATED: Saturday, October 20, 2012 - 3:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Las Vegas Metro police have arrested two men Berkeley law school students after police say they killed and decapitated an exotic bird at the Flamingo resort-casino.
Eric Cuellar, 24 and Justin Teixeira, 23, were jailed Friday afternoon on suspicion of conspiracy and willful malicious killing of wildlife.
According to the arrest report a witness saw one holding the bird's body, and there is surveillance video putting three men in the area.
Ashlee Gagnon, 29, told police she saw two men walking out of the bushes inside the Wildlife Habitat.
Security used her description and picked them up.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department sent a press release identifying them as 24-year-old Justin Teixeira and 24-year-old Eric Cuellar.
Gagnon said Teixeira was holding the body of a dead bird and threw it at Cuellar stating, "I f----ing killed wildlife."
Surveillance video captured a light gray bird run to where the body was found followed by three men.
A few minutes later the men walked out from around the corner and were talking.
Police did not find the third man.
According to the police report the value the 14-year-old Helmeted Guinea Fowl named Turk is between $150-$175.
Jeannie Akins, Animal Care Manager at the Las Vegas Zoo, describes the bird as exotic and gentle.
"If you chase them or cause them to be in danger, then they're going to be very high strung and run and be terrified," said Akins. "To hear what happened, I'm sure that this was a terrified bird."
UC Berkeley School of law Dean Christopher Edley, Jr. released this statement: "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. It's premature to speculate about any possible consequences; the justice system must run its course."
The men are scheduled to be back in court in February and appear to have clean records.