Placerville man sentenced for beheading exotic bird in Vegas

By From page A7 | October 23, 2013

A Placerville man who pleaded guilty to killing an exotic bird in Nevada was assigned to a regimental discipline program on Oct. 16.

On Oct. 12, 2012, at about 9:35 a.m., the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department dispatch received a call from the Flamingo Hotel that two men had been detained for killing a large exotic bird, a 14-year-old Helmeted Guineafowl named Turk that was part of the hotel’s Wildlife Habitat, a press release stated.

Upon arrivals, officers received reports that two men had been witnessed throwing the dead bird, discussing the killing of the bird and laughing about having done so.

Video surveillance captured the duo chasing the bird into trees. A witness saw the two emerge from the trees with the body of the bird and its severed head.

The male suspects claimed they were law students of University of California, Berkeley, and Berkeley student ID cards were in their possession. They refused to speak with officers.

Justin Teixeira, 24, of Placerville, and Eric Cuellar, 24, were arrested and booked into Clark County Detention Center on felony charges of conspiracy and willful malicious torture/killing of wildlife.

Cuellar, from San Antonio, Texas, pleaded to a misdemeanor charge related to animal abuse, Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Frank Coumou said. Through their investigation, the DA’s Office discovered there were three suspects, and Hazhir Kargaran, 26, who Coumou said was from the Bay Area, was also arrested. Coumou confirmed Teixeira and Cuellar graduated from Berkeley’s law school in May.

Cuellar, Coumou said, was the videographer and captured the crime on camera while laughing. Kargaran and Teixeira chased the bird into the trees.

Kargaran pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts related to animal abuse. He and Cuellar were sentenced to jail time, a fine, counseling and community service.

Teixeira was sentenced to 190 days of Regimental Discipline, a type of boot camp. Meant for younger male first-time offenders, offenders are processed and then live in the camp for the duration of their sentence, Coumou said. In the morning and evening, the inmates go through a physical fitness program. They are also subjected to educational and counseling programs. If they are successful, they go on to the next phase of their sentence, supervised release/probation. If Teixeira is unsuccessful, Coumou said, he faces “one to four years of prison.”

The men were drunk, Coumou said. “The video pretty much shows it.”

“The Hangover III got a sequel,” he added. “‘One Bad Hangover.’”

Cole Mayer

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