A University of California, Berkeley law school graduate pleaded guilty Wednesday to the October drunken beheading of an exotic bird on the Strip.
Justin Teixeira, who appeared in court dressed in a suit, said he was guilty of felony killing of another person’s animal for decapitating Turk, a 14-year-old helmeted guinea fowl at the Flamingo’s Wildlife Habitat on Oct. 12.
Meanwhile, Teixeira’s lawyer, Michael Pariente, told Judge Stefany Miley that the record needed to reflect that his client was drunk at the time of the incident so the California bar can consider that when reviewing the case.
Teixeira, who appeared in the program for the May 11 commencement ceremony for U.C. Berkeley law students, is set to take the California bar exam in July.
If he passes the formidable exam, the California bar will have to review Teixeira’s case to determine if he is allowed to practice law.
The state bar requires a background check to determine positive moral character, according to its website.
“It is the policy of The State Bar of California that persons who have been convicted of violent felonies, felonies involving moral turpitude and crimes involving a breach of fiduciary duty are presumed not to be of good moral character in the absence of a pardon or a showing of overwhelming reform and rehabilitation,” the website said.
As part of his deal with prosecutors, two other charges were dropped against Teixeira.
He agreed to a stipulated sentence of six-months of boot camp, followed by up to three years of probation for decapitating Turk.
If he successfully completes both boot camp and probation, the felony count will be lowered to a misdemeanor, prosecutor Frank Coumou said.
But Miley will have the final say on Teixeira’s sentence at an Oct. 16 hearing.
Two other law students have already taken plea deals in the case.
Hazhir Kargaran in May pleaded no contest to three misdemeanors. And Eric Cuellar earlier this year pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of instigating an act of cruelty to an animal.
Both men served two days in jail and were fined.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039.