Two UC Berkeley law students arrested on suspicion of decapitating an exotic bird at a Las Vegas hotel Friday are no longer in custody after posting bail.
Twenty-four-year-olds Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira were booked into the Clark County Detention Center after they were captured on video surveillance chasing a guinea fowl into some trees in the hotel’s wildlife habitat. A witness spotted the two men allegedly emerging from the trees carrying the dead bird and its severed head, according to a Friday statement by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
The two men face felony charges on suspicion of conspiracy and willful malicious torture/killing of wildlife, said Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Laura Meltzer. According to WhosArrested.com, a free national arrest database, the bonds for the two counts totaled $7,000 for each suspect.
Gary Thompson, spokesperson for Caesars Entertainment, the company that owns the hotel, said the 14-year-old Helmeted Guinea Fowl was rescued as a baby and was the only guinea fowl the hotel had in its wildlife habitat.
“We’ve never had an incident like this before,” Thompson said. The 14-acre wildlife habitat has about 500 animals total, including turtles, ducks, catfish and flamingos, among other animals.
The two suspects told police they were students at the UC Berkeley School of Law, and UC Berkeley student identification cards were found in their possession, according to the statement.
UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Christopher Edley said in a statement that he was “extremely troubled” by the news accounts of the students’ actions off campus but said it was up to the Nevada legal system to examine the facts and rule in this case.
“It’s premature to speculate about any possible consequences,” Edley said in the statement. “The justice system must run its course.”
Some students have commented on the incident on Nuts & Boalts, a blog that describes itself as “stories from the fruits and nuts of the UC Berkeley School of Law.”
One student — who claimed to know both Cuellar and Teixeira — said on the blog that what the two men did was a “disgusting, stupid and inexplicable” act but that the student was “not going to abandon them no matter how shocked I am by what they did.”
Chloe Hunt covers crime. Contact her at [email protected].