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Law school graduate spared prison for beheading exotic bird in Las Vegas

Conditions of probation for a young man who admitted beheading an exotic bird in Las Vegas include working in an animal shelter and counseling.
By Frances Burns   |   May 12, 2014 at 6:01 PM

LAS VEGAS, May 12 (UPI) -- A law school graduate who admitted decapitating a helmeted guineafowl at a Las Vegas hotel's wildlife exhibit was sentenced Monday to probation.

Justin Teixeira has already spent 190 days in a "regimental discipline" prison boot camp program after pleading guilty last year to killing the exotic bird. During probation, which could last for as long as four years, he must do community service for 16 hours a month at an animal shelter and undergo counseling.

Texeira is a recent graduate of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley. He pleaded guilty after two other law students had already cut deals that included sentences of only two days in jail.

The 14-year-old helmeted guineafowl, named Turk, was in the Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo on the Vegas strip. Prosecutors appeared to have a strong case against the three, including video from security cameras.

Texeira's sentence calls for the charge against him to be reduced from a felony to a gross misdemeanor if he completes probation. The guilty pleas are likely to mean that the three defendants will have trouble finding legal work.

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