Law student pleads no contest in Las Vegas bird decapitation case


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A former student at the UC Berkeley School of Law has been convicted of three misdemeanors after pleading no contest in the ongoing Las Vegas exotic bird beheading case involving two other law students.

On Wednesday, Hazhir Kargaran, a recent Berkeley Law graduate, pleaded no contest in Las Vegas for his involvement in the October beheading of a helmeted guineafowl named Turk at the Flamingo Hotel Wildlife Animal Habitat.

According to Clark County District Attorney Frank Coumou, Kargaran pleaded guilty to three counts of misdemeanor charges, including instigating misdemeanor animal cruelty, malicious destruction of property and trespassing.

Josh Tomsheck, Kargaran’s attorney, said that Kargaran was ordered to serve two days in the county jail, complete 48 hours of community service, pay a $1,000 fine as well as $150 in restitution to the hotel and complete an alcohol awareness class.

Kargaran completed his jail sentence on Friday and said he wanted to apologize to the Berkeley community.

“I’m very sorry for what happened to the bird,” Kargaran said. “I want people to know that I am not someone who thinks killing or harming animals is fun, funny or acceptable.”

Coumou, who is also prosecuting the other Boalt students involved in the case, said that he was particularly surprised that UC Berkeley students were involved in the case.

“It’s very disappointing that someone aspiring to become a lawyer would do something like this,” Coumou said. “I was shocked that they were students from one of what I consider to be the best law schools in the country.”

Berkeley Law graduate Justin Alexander Teixeira was charged with felonies of killing and torture of an animal after allegedly beheading the guineafowl. He pleaded not guilty and will go to trial this summer.

Eric Cuellar, who will enter his third year at the law school, was also involved in the incident. He pleaded guilty in January to a misdemeanor charge of instigating an act of cruelty to an animal.

Contact Stephanie Petrillo at [email protected]

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