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Wrongful death suit in FL

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Posted by: EricWI at Sun Jan 8 06:11:13 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by EricWI ]  
   

Father of victim in killer python case files wrongful-death suit against state

The biological father of a Sumter County toddler who was bitten and strangled to death in her crib by an undernourished Burmese python in 2009 has brought a wrongful-death suit against the state Department of Children & Families.

The lawsuit alleges that the department should have done more to protect Joseph Gilkerson's 2-year-old daughter, Shaianna Hare, and that the child-welfare agency received a complaint in May 2009 that Shaianna's mother, Jaren Hare, and her boyfriend, Charles "Jason" Darnell, weren't taking care of her.

The department breached its duty to protect Hare, the complaint says, "by failing to report the presence of the Burmese python snake to the appropriate authorities who could then have determined whether the snake was properly and safely penned, and whether the presence of the snake in the home presented a danger…"

Gilkerson, 30, is from Leesburg and wasn't living with the child at the time.

DCF spokeswoman Carrie Hoeppner declined to comment Friday because of the ongoing nature of the case.

The toddler was killed in her crib by the 8-foot-6-inch snake, named Gypsy, which slithered from a glass tank in the couple's mobile home in Oxford. A medical examiner testified that the snake was trying to eat the child.

Hare and Darnell both were convicted of manslaughter for failing to protect Shaianna last year. They were sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The snake, which at 13 1/2 pounds was grossly underweight, repeatedly escaped the 200-gallon tank that had a quilt as a lid before the fatal attack on July 1, 2009.

But a DCF investigator who documented marijuana use at the home also noted that at the time of one visit the snake was housed in a different aquarium and testified during the trial that it had a locked lid.

The lawsuit says Gilkerson "suffered mental pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life" as a result of his daughter's death.
articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-01-06/news/os-killer-python-lawsuit-20120106_1_charles-jason-darnell-burmese-python-snake


   

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