Bird Sanctuary Calls Beheading 'Senseless'

LAS VEGAS -- Felony charges against two Berkeley law students accused of killing a rare exotic bird at the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat are likely, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said.

Those who work closely with birds like the 14-year-old Helmeted Guinea Fowl that was beheaded last week said the bird had no chance of survival against two grown men.

For Taylor Andrews, walking through the Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary, and seeing and hearing all the birds, makes it a good place to work.

"They are very therapeutic," he said. "If you get stressed out, it's nice to take a walk around here."

Andrews said the attack on a helpless bird called "Turk" has left him and his staff numb.

"It hits home for us as a sanctuary," he said. "It's a tragedy that should not happen."

According to the police report, Justin Teixeira, 24, walked out of one of the bushes inside the habitat at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino holding the body of a dead bird and threw it at Eric Cuellar, also 24. Teixeira was then heard by a witness saying, "I (f---ing) killed wildlife."

The bird was the only one of its kind at the habitat.

"It's a shame that there are these individuals out there that do these kind of acts," Andrews said. "We pride ourselves on taking care of the animals (and) the birds. We don't need these kinds of tragedies.

"It's senseless. These kinds of pranks they just think they are having fun in the moment. It's so uncalled for."

Teixeira and Cuellar are both law students at the University of California's Berkeley School of Law. In a statement released Monday, the school's dean, Christopher Edley Jr. released a statement on the attack.

"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," Edley said. "It's premature to speculate about any possible consequences; the justice system must run its course."

Wolfson said the men are facing fines and prison time if convicted.

"Based on my review at this point, I am very confident that felony charges will be brought," he said.

Wolfson said he is waiting for more evidence from Metro Police, including surveillance video. Teixeira and Cuellar are not expected to be back in court until February.


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