Cal Law student gets probation for beheading a bird while drunk in Vegas
ABC 7 News – A University of California, Berkeley, law school graduate was sentenced Monday to up to four years’ probation and 16 hours of animal shelter work per month for beheading a chicken-sized exotic bird during a drunken escapade in October 2012 at a Las Vegas Strip resort.
Justin Alexander Teixeira, 25, apologized Monday to the state of Nevada and to people affected by the death of the helmeted guineafowl named Turk.
“It was the worst moment of my life,” Teixeira said in his first public comment since the incident. “If there was anything I could do to undo it, I would.”
Security video showed Teixeira and two other Berkeley students – Eric Cuellar and Hazhir Kargaran – laughing and chasing the bird in a wildlife habitat garden area. To the horror of hotel guests having breakfast nearby, Teixeira wrung the animal’s neck, tossed the bird’s body and flipped the head into some nearby rocks. Cuellar, now 26, and Kargaran, now 27, each pleaded guilty last year to reduced misdemeanor charges. Each was fined and sentenced to community service.
Teixeira, of Placerville, California, pleaded guilty in May 2013 to one felony charge of killing another person’s animal. That avoided trial on that charge and two other felony counts that could have gotten him up to eight years in prison. He recently completed a 190-day prison boot camp at Indian Springs instead of time behind bars. Defense attorney Michael Pariente told Clark County District Court Judge Stefany Miley that Teixeira received top honors in the program. He also learned during that time that he passed the California bar exam.
Whether Teixeira will be able to practice law could depend on whether he can get his sentence reduced to a misdemeanor after completing probation. A statement on the bar website allows room for a pardon for a showing of “overwhelming reform and rehabilitation.” Pariente sought a lenient sentence of 18 months’ probation. He told the judge that Teixeira’s name is forever linked with animal abuse and the incident would haunt him for the rest of his life. Pariente previously acknowledged the incident happened while Teixeira was “heavily intoxicated.” But the judge came down hard with her sentence. She told Teixeira his animal shelter commitment will last as long as his probation, regardless of other employment or school enrollment.
First off, drunk, Justin? Yeah okay.
Okay, with that out of the way, let’s digest the rampage here for a second: drunk and coked up at the tail end of an all night bender, Justin breaks into a wildlife display and kills an exotic bird (birds can have helmets?) in front of senior citizens having their free buffet. Which I can imagine was probably about 100x worse than your normal exotic bird death in public.
So in addition to 190 boot camp, where I am assuming he got screamed at and berated for being a wanna-be lawyer, probably also go in some serious shape he has to continue to work at an animal shelter as long as his probation is going on. I’d say the house always wins but if you have the legal system and Vegas against you, you definitely are going down hard for it. Well, at least he can practice law now? Might have to go work for the casinos as indebted servant because really that’s his only play right now. No law firm isn’t going to do a background check on this guy and hire him. Might as well go back to the strip, work for 10 years at some casino till some wise guy says, hey you know what, you’re alright, now get the fuck outta here. Until then though, gotta deal with the guilt that some bird just fucked over his career. That’s heavy guilt, but there’s always something worse.