Las Vegas Sun

July 3, 2015

Currently: 94° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account


Cal law student pleads guilty to charge related to death of bird at Flamingo Wildlife Habitat

Updated Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 | 3 p.m.

Eric Cuellar

Eric Cuellar

Justin Teixeira

Justin Teixeira

Map of Wildlife Habitat

Wildlife Habitat

3555 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas

One of the University of California-Berkeley law students charged in conjunction with the death of an exotic bird in October at the Flamingo’s Wildlife Habitat has pleaded guilty.

Eric Cuellar, 24, pleaded guilty Thursday in Las Vegas Justice Court to a misdemeanor charge of instigating, engaging in or furthering an act of cruelty to an animal in the death of Turk, a 14-year-old helmeted guinea fowl that had resided at the habitat.

Cuellar’s attorney, Richard Schonfeld, said his client was sentenced to two days in the Clark County Detention Center, ordered to perform 48 hours of community service and undergo alcohol counseling. In addition, Cuellar was fined $200 and ordered to pay $150 restitution to the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat.

The court granted Cuellar credit for jail time already served, so he will not have to report back to the detention center, Schonfeld said.

Asked why his client pleaded guilty, Schonfeld said, “He just wanted to be able to put this behind him.”

Schonfeld also noted Cuellar was charged with a misdemeanor and was not accused of personally harming the bird.

Meanwhile, fellow Cal law student, 24-year-old Justin Teixeira, is scheduled to be arraigned next month in Las Vegas Justice Court on charges he tortured and killed the bird. Frank Coumou, Clark County chief deputy district attorney, said it's possible Cuellar will be called to testify if the case against Teixeira goes to trial.

According to a Metro Police report, a witness told security she saw two men, later identified as Cuellar and Teixeira, walk out of bushes in the habitat with the dead bird named Turk, on the morning of Oct. 12. Teixeira, who was holding the bird, allegedly threw it toward Cuellar and said, "I (expletive) killed wildlife," the report states.

Surveillance video captured a third person with Teixeira and Cuellar following the bird.

Coumou said an ongoing investigation could result in criminal charges against two other individuals.

Teixeira remains been free on bond.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 1 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Millions of chickens are killed every year. Once a year, this Country celebrates a day in which millions of turkeys are slaughtered and exotically prepared for consumption.

    No justice for these birds?