The first couple to face criminal charges in a pet snake attack in Florida could be tried together for the reason of “judicial economy,” said Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino. In other words, the evidence, witnesses and facts are the same, or similar enough, that it’s practical to try them together.
Last year an 8.5 foot long pet Burmese python escaped from it’s glass container and killed the couple’s two-year-old daughter. Charges against the two range from manslaughter to third-degree murder to child neglect. Both parents have pleaded not guilty and want to be tried separately. Defense attorneys say that trying the parents together will not provide fair trials for either party.
The tragedy actually took place July 1, 2009, but the courts have been overloaded with cases, and delays have become common. The case is expected to be tried very soon though.
Several weeks before the attack, a social worker noticed the snake and a pit bull during a visit to the the home. At the time, the investigation focused on an allegation of drug use in the home, which was not substantiated by the visit.
It was reported in the affidavit that the snake’s aquarium container lacked a secure cover or lock. There were also no doors within the home. And one of the parents allegedly told investigators the snake had escaped five to seven times before the strangling occurred.
There are now an estimated tens of thousands of pythons and anacondas in Florida. They are all non-native and were introduced to the environment accidentally, or by pet owners who no longer wanted them. In fact, there are so many, Florida has a seasonal hunt to reduce their numbers.
Thirteen people have been killed in the U.S. since 1980 by pet pythons, according to a related article, and five of those were children.
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