Two University of California, Berkeley law students tossed around the body of an exotic bird as casually as college students play Frisbee on campus.
According to arrest reports for Justin Teixeira and Eric Cuellar released Monday, a witness saw the two 24-year-olds throwing the body of 14-year-old Turk, the Flamingo resort’s wildlife habitat’s only helmeted guineafowl.
The witness saw Teixeira holding Turk on Friday morning. He then tossed the bird to Cuellar.
“I (expletive) killed wildlife,” Teixeira said, according to the report.
The report said that Turk had been decapitated.
When Las Vegas police spoke with the law students about the bird’s death, the two men did what defense lawyers recommend suspects do. They remained silent.
“I’d like my lawyer,” Cuellar said. “I want my lawyer,” was Teixeira’s response.
An official with Berkeley’s law school confirmed Monday that Teixeira and Cuellar are students.
She provided a statement from Christopher Edley Jr., dean of the law school.
“I’m extremely troubled by news accounts of the students’ actions off campus, but it’s up to the Nevada legal system to examine the facts and rule in this case,” Edley said. “It’s premature to speculate about any possible consequences; the justice system must run its course.”
The report said the witness, appalled that the two were playing with the body of the exotic bird, went to Flamingo’s security.
Security then detained the men based on the description the witness had provided. She also identified the two men to police.
Police obtained video footage from Carlos’N Charlie’s restaurant inside the Flamingo, which was taken about
The video captured three men running into a grassy area near where Turk’s remains were found. The video showed a light gray bird being chased by three men, who followed it around a corner.
A few minutes later, the men reappeared without the bird.
The faces were unclear on the video, but the clothing descriptions of two of the men matched what Teixeira and Cuellar were wearing.
The other man was never located by police.
Sgt. John Sheahan said the investigation into Turk’s killing is at a standstill, noting that the suspects haven’t cooperated with investigators.
“Unless they decide to cooperate and divulge information, we have nothing to go on except that these two were culpable.”
Teixeira and Cuellar each face felonies of willful malicious torture and killing of an animal and conspiracy to torture or kill an animal.
The men were not in the Clark County Detention Center on Monday and had posted bail, Sheahan said.
Helmeted guineafowls are valued between $150 and $175, the report said. The bird is native to Africa.
Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@review journal.com or 702-383-4638.