Bird isn’t the word for University of California, Berkeley law school graduate Justin Teixeira; the word is guilty. Teixeira, who graduated from the law school this May, pleaded guilty to criminal charges relating to beheading an exotic bird at a Las Vegas Casino.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Teixeira appeared before Judge Stefany Miley, and said that he was guilty of felony killing of another person’s animal. The incident occurred on October 12, 2012, at which time Teixeira and two friends, Eric Cuellar, a current Berkeley law school student, and Hazhir Kargaran, another Berkeley law school graduate, entered the Flamingo Casino and Hotel’s Wildlife Habitat while drunk. A witness reports she saw the three dart behind a tree in pursuit of a guinea fowl named Turk, only to emerge from the foliage with the bird’s headless body.
Earlier this year, Kargaran pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty, property destruction, and trespassing and was sentenced to two days in jail and 48 hours of community service. Cuellar pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of instigating animal cruelty, and was fined $200 and sentenced to 48 hours of community service.
Teixeira, who is alleged to be the one who actually killed and dismembered the bird, was charged with the felony, and made a deal with prosecutors. By pleading guilty to felony killing of another person’s animal, two related charges have been dropped, and Teixeira and his attorney, Michael Pariente, agreed to a stipulated sentence of six-months of boot camp, followed by up to three years of probation for decapitating the bird. If both boot camp and the probation are successfully completed, Teixeira’s felony will be lowered to a misdemeanor. The sentence will be finalized at a hearing scheduled for October 16, one year after Turk’s beheading.
Teixeira’s trial is no doubt cutting into the time during which he should be studying for the bar exam, and his criminal record may prevent him from admission to the California Bar. According to the California Bar’s website, Teixeira may be subject to a background check and face review by bar officials before he is legally allowed to practice law in California.