- Feb 10, 2005
- Reaction score
- Montgomery, Al
OXFORD, Fla. - Jury selection got underway in a manslaughter case involving a 2-year-old Sumter County girl who was killed by a pet python.
Jaren Hare, 21, and her boyfriend, Jason Darnell, 34, are also accused of child abuse in the death of Shaianna Hare.
The child was strangled by an 8-foot-6-inch Burmese python in 2009.
Darnell told investigators the snake was in its tank when he went to bed that night. He said a short time later, he discovered the snake had escaped from its terrarium. He said he put the python in a mesh bag and placed it back in the tank.
But there was a hole in the bag and the snake escaped once again.
Darnell said the next morning, he found the snake wrapped around Shaianna's head, its fangs in her forehead. He then struck the snake with a cleaver.
Court documents indicate the couple had not fed the snake for about a month and that it had repeatedly had escaped from its tank, which only had a quilt for a cover.
I don't want a circus," prosecutor Pete Magrino told the Orlando Sentinel. "The snake's not on trial here."
Hare and Darnell will face the jury together. Each could get 35 years in prison if convicted.
The Python, named Gypsy, has recovered from its wound and is in the possession of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Once jury selection is complete, opening arguments are expected on Tuesday.