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Aspiring lawyer gets probation for beheading bird in Las Vegas

By Jonathan Kaminsky

(Reuters) - An aspiring lawyer from California was sentenced to up to four years of probation on Monday for drunkenly beheading a bird at a Las Vegas hotel in 2012, prosecutors said.

Justin Alexander Teixeira was on a visit to Las Vegas with two friends when he cornered the bird, a helmeted guineafowl, before picking it up and ripping off its head as bystanders ate breakfast at the Flamingo hotel, said Tess Driver, spokeswoman for the Clark County District Attorney's Office.

The case shocked sensibilities even in Las Vegas, a city famous for tolerating outlandish behavior from the visitors its economy relies upon, with picketers demanding justice for the bird at an earlier court appearance by Teixeira, 25, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"There's some weird stuff that goes on down here, but that was a little different," Driver said.

Teixeira, who has since graduated from law school at the University of California, Berkeley, and passed the written portion of the California Bar Exam, pleaded guilty last year to one felony count of killing another person's animal.

As part of the plea agreement, two other felony charges were dropped and he served 190 days in a prison boot camp ahead of his final sentence. Teixeira was also ordered to spend 16 hours each month working unpaid at an animal shelter for the duration of his probation.

If he successfully completes his probation, Teixeira will be able to withdraw his plea and have the felony on his record replaced with a gross misdemeanor, Driver said, a distinction that could affect his ability to practice law.

Teixeira's lawyer, Michael Pariente, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Grant McCool)

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