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Python Death: Sumter County Couple Charged With Manslaughter in Python-Related Child Death -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel.Com


Society & Culture  (tags: law, snake, killed, death, child, crime, abuse, children )

Raffi
- 1699 days ago - sun-sentinel.com
The mother of a 2-year-old Sumter County girl asphyxiated by a Burmese python and the woman's live-in boyfriend were charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with the death, officials said Monday. Jaren Ashley Hare, 19, and



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Raffi LidoRoiz (312)
Monday August 24, 2009, 11:26 pm
OXFORD - The mother of a 2-year-old Sumter County girl asphyxiated by a Burmese python and the woman's live-in boyfriend were charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with the death, officials said Monday.

Jaren Ashley Hare, 19, and Charles Jason Darnell, 32, also face child-abuse counts, according to the Sumter County Sheriff's Office. The charges come nearly two months after the July 1 the death of little Shaiunna Hare, who was killed by the snake in her crib.

The mother turned herself into the Wildwood Police Department Monday after a warrant was issued by the 5th Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office. Darnell, who was already incarcerated at the Sumter County Jail on unrelated narcotics charges, was notified of the three new charges late Monday.

The attack in the rural community about 60 miles northwest of Orlando was believed to be the state's first case of a nonvenomous constrictor killing a child. Chief Assistant State Attorney Ric Ridgway said the manslaughter by culpable negligence charges reflect a "reckless disregard" that is criminal. The third-degree felony murder charge indicates "the death was not intended. You didn't set out to kill somebody, but it was the result of your behavior."

Individuals can be charged with both counts and go to trial on both counts, but if they're found guilty of both, the court would have to dismiss one of the charges and convict on the other, Ridgway said.

The murder and manslaughter counts carry maximum sentences of 15 years in prison; the child-abuse charge carries a five-year maximum.

Both were held on $35,000 bond each in connection with the charges, which stem from the escape of an albino Burmese python from a glass container inside the couple's home in Oxford. The snake was later found wrapped around the child's lifeless body.

Darnell, who was not Shaiunna's father, discovered the child that morning. Sobbing during a 911 call, he said, "The baby's dead! Our stupid snake got out in the middle of the night and strangled the baby!"

The 8 1/2-foot reptile had escaped its enclosure earlier. Darnell said he had put it inside a bag and placed it back into the glass tank. He also put a quilt over the container, tying down the ends. But the python escaped again and headed for the young child's crib.

State wildlife officials said the snake was not properly secured and not registered as a required by state law. The python is considered a "reptile of concern."

During an interview with the Orlando Sentinel just about a month after the attack, Darnell said he and Hare were still grieving the death of the child. He called the snake attack a "terrible, awful accident."

"It's not guilt," Darnell said at the time. "It's remorse and grief. I'll never have another one [a snake]."

Darnell said the child's death -- and the international publicity surrounding the case -- made him a "monster" in the eyes of many. But he also said he had been around the reptiles much of his life.

"Some people are bird people. Some people are cat people. And some people are snake people," Darnell said during the interview.

The attack on the child was followed up by state and federal efforts to hunt Burmese pythons in and around the Everglades in South Florida, where the snakes have thrived, reproduced and become dominant predators of native wildlife.

Hare has since given birth to another baby fathered by Darnell.
 

Past Member (0)
Tuesday August 25, 2009, 12:05 am
So very sad..... As a Python snake owner and mother of 5 this is very disheartening to read.

There are so many really irresponsible people in this Would...

Noted with sadness.
 

Joycey B. (750)
Tuesday August 25, 2009, 5:39 am
Thanks for this update Raffi.
 

Past Member (0)
Tuesday August 25, 2009, 9:29 am
Thanks for the update, Raffi. So very sad.
 

BarbKnight SunshineLady (1613)
Tuesday August 25, 2009, 3:49 pm
Why in the world would you have a pet Python in the same house with a two-year-old? Pythons belong outside far, far, away from toddlers. (*sigh!!*) So, so, sad...
 

Lee B. (84)
Tuesday August 25, 2009, 3:53 pm
Do you realize how many crazy, sick animal abuse stories come out of Florida, I'm telling you it's the damn heat, their brains are melted.
 

Raffi LidoRoiz (312)
Tuesday August 25, 2009, 4:31 pm
I realized that my brain was melting after living forty years in the glorified concrete Venice-with a dash of wetlands thrown in-air conditioned to within an inch of my life-Lee-you bet-grocery shopping at 3Am in Boca because it was cooler and I didn't have to see any weirdos at Albertsons-and there certainly was/is no shortage of them. A body washes up on shore at least once a week...

Florida has gone crazier than it ever has-it's swamp fever!;-) I love your comment!!!! 5 stars!
 

Loretta C. (10)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 12:06 am
Although some people are snake people, and snake are beings as well, it is not apporiate to have a python in the home with a two year old. Those animals see a small child as dinner and the thrill of the hunt is what they instintly do.
 

Charlie L. (29)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 1:40 am
He may as well have left a loaded gun laying out in the open and placed bets on whether the child would have shot herself with it. If someone keeps any kind of wild animal in their home or on their property they bear a grave responsibility to others living in their home and to the surrounding community. It does no good after a tragedy like this for him to say "the stupid snake got loose". He should'nt blame the snake. He's the one who was stupid for having the snake there with a two year old child in the house.
 

chris b. (2484)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 3:06 am
This story reminded me of the cat that was eaten by a neighbours 13 feet python in the UK. What possesses people to own such a potentially hazardous reptile? Often the same people appear to be involved with drugs so maybe they live in perpetual unreality (or is that politicians?)or use the snake to guard their stash! In the UK these reptiles are not considered dangerous as they are not venomous! Presumably one is less dead from crushing than being poisoned by a venomous creature! (tempted to put in politician in again!) There is a petition to get this status changed on the Downing Street petition site. This sad story provdes evidence that mass sterilisation should not be restricted to cats and dogs! Either that or people should have a certificate of competence before bringing children into the world. The same irresponsible idiots seem to cause the same problems the world over. Sadly the rest of us have to pick up the pieces either financially, physically or emotionally! Responsibility is probably far too long a word for these people to grasp but you could also say that about politicians! What a tragic waste of life! Blaming the snake must be the ultimate cop out!
 

Michael Cline (23)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 5:04 am
Don't blame the snake ... The blame should be on the parents...... They needed to have the snake secure if they were going to keep it .... The snake don't know any better
 

Julie van Niekerk (230)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 5:54 am
It is unnatural for a snake to live in a glass cage. Had he been in the wild, this would not have happened.
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 6:32 am
Judge me all you want Barcat, but if I didn't take this snake it would be dead today, not about to turn 9 years old in a few weeks. It was raised with now 3 babies, not just one....
 

. (0)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 8:03 am
The parents should not have a huge snake around like this, when there are small children around.. It is far tooooooo risky... I have seen what pythons do to animals in Africa.. it is so horrible..
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 8:44 am
You know a kid is more likely to be bitten by your dog or scratched by your cat then to be actually eaten by a snake...
 

Charlie L. (29)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 2:22 pm
Well congratulations, perhaps as you say you saved the life of snake, but in the case of this family in Florida a two year old child is now dead. She should not have had to lose her life because of her stepfather's negligence.
 

Charlie L. (29)
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 2:28 pm
The odds of a child being killed by a snake may be low, but those odds were obviously not low enough to insure the safety of this little girl.
 
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