Two Berkeley law students who came under fire in October for a Vegas weekend that allegedly went wrong are now officially facing criminal charges.Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira, both 24, were arrested in October on allegations they chased a rare helmeted guinea fowl at the Flamingo hotel’s Wildlife Habitat, decapitated the bird, and then played catch with the fowl’s body.
The decapitation is considered a felony under Nevada’s strict animal rights laws.
And more than two months after the incident, the pair was officially charged last week.
Teixeira was charged with killing another person’s animal; torturing, overdriving, injuring, or abandoning animals; conspiracy to torture, harass, or abandon animals; and instigating, engaging in or furthering an act of cruelty to animals, the Las Vegas Sun reported Thursday.
Cueller was charged with instigating, engaging in or furthering an act of cruelty to an animal.
If convicted Teixeria could face prison or county jail time, as well as probation and Cuellar could face two days to six months in jail, at least 48 hours of community service and at least a $200 fine.
It isn’t clear why Cueller is facing fewer charges but Richard Schonfeld, his attorney, told The Associated Press his client has “an exemplary background” and the charges are “an acknowledgment that he did not physically harm the bird.”
Anonymous tipsters who say they know the pair have described Teixeira as a “typically fratty law student” and Cuellar as “kind and gentle,” according to Above The Law.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson told The Associated Press his office is still investigating the incident and could ultimately file charges against one or two other people.
“I’m hoping we can send a message to people who visit that this is totally unacceptable,” Wolfson told the AP.
Cal law school dean Christopher Edley Jr., issued a statement shortly after the arrests saying he was “extremely troubled” by reports of the students’ actions but that it would be premature to speculate on the case, according to the Sun.
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