Justin Teixiera, a recent graduate of the University of California-Berkeley School of Law, pleaded guilty to beheading an exotic bird at the Flamingo resort in Las Vegas in October 2012. He must complete six months of military-style prison boot camp or face jail time.
(Photo: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
A California law school graduate was hauled off to boot camp Wednesday for decapitating an exotic bird while drunk at a Las Vegas hotel-casino last year.
Justin Teixeira, 25, of Placerville, Calif., must complete the six-month, military-style program atHigh Desert State Prison in Nevada or face one to four years behind bars on a felony charge of killing another person's animal.
As part of a plea bargain, his conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor if he passes boot camp. The Prosecutors also dropped two misdemeanor charges.
Teixeira pleaded guilty to beheading a 14-year-old helmeted guinea fowl named Turk on Oct. 12, 2012, at the Flamingo's Wildlife Habitat. Two companions also accepted plea bargains for their roles in the crime.
STORY: Law students accused of beheading exotic bird in Vegas
Security video showed the trio laughing and chasing the chicken-sized bird in a wildlife habitat display as shocked hotel guests looked on. Teixeira twisted off the bird's head, throwing it into rocks, and tossed the body at one of his friends.
"I (expletive) killed wildlife," he said, according to what a witness told police.
A small group picketed outside the Clark County courthouse Wednesday before the sentencing, with one protester carrying a sign that read, "Justice for Turk."
Prosecutor Frank Coumou said Teixeira was dependent on alcohol and was receiving counseling, the Las Vegas Sunreported.
Teixeira, who graduated from the University of California-Berkeley School of Law, took the state bar exam in July and may learn next month whether he passed, Coumou told reporters afterward.
If he passes, the bar will review his case to determine whether his "moral character" qualifies him to practice law in California.
Teixeira's classmates, Eric Cuellar and Hazhir Kargaran, served two days in jail, paid fines and performed community service.
Cuellar pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of instigating an act of cruelty to an animal, while Kargaran pleaded no contest to three misdemeanors.