at Fri Aug 26 12:31:30 2011 [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by EricWI ]
Killer python to be used for training at Eglin
EGLIN AFB — A python that killed a 2-year-old Florida girl in 2009 will now be used in training at Eglin Air Force Base.
The 8-foot, 6-inch python, named Gypsy, has lived at the Camp Rudder snake house since shortly after the incident.
The albino Burmese python now will be used in swamp training at ranger camp, said Elsie Jackson, public affairs with Fort Benning.
“The rangers who work in the snake house are licensed to handle venomous snakes and all of the snakes are being well cared for,” Jackson said. “Up until now, the snake has been in holding because of the (criminal court) case. Now we are going to be able to use it with the training.”
Jackson said the snake is among many reptiles used during the swamp training. Rangers must recognize venomous snakes versus harmless snakes and continue in their mission as part of the training.
The toddler, Shaianna Rosa Hare, died July 1, 2009, after the python slid into her crib and constricted her. Her mother, Jaren Hare, and her live-in boyfriend Charles “Jason” Darnell each were sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison.
Hare and Darnell faced a maximum of 45 years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter and child neglect.
According to news reports, the couple kept the python in a glass tank and used a quilt as the lid in their mobile home in Oxford, located about 60 miles northwest of Orlando.
At the time, the snake weighed less than 14 pounds — the typical weight of a snake that size is 150 pounds.
A medical examiner testified during the couple’s trial that the snake was attempting to eat the child.
“Originally, the state attorney did not want the snake destroyed because it was evidence in the case,” said Joy Hill, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission coordinator for the northeast region.
Hill said there was no reason to destroy the snake, which was acting on instinct, but the state did not want the snake in the public.
“We didn’t want to put it someplace where someone could capitalize on its infamy,” Hill said. “There isn’t any reason to destroy it just because the case is over, so we worked with Eglin, and they are using it for training purposes.”
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