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Couple jailed for girl's python death

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Posted by: EricWI at Thu Jun 21 13:29:43 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by EricWI ]  
   

Couple jailed for girl's python death attempt to get sentences reduced

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —


A Sumter County couple tried to get a charge tossed out in the death of a toddler strangled by a python.

In 2009, a Burmese python crawled into 2-year-old Shaianna Hare's crib and killed her.

Charles Darnell and the girl's mother, Jaren Hare, were sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The family's attorneys wanted the judge to throw out the child neglect conviction.

But the judge denied the motion to set aside the neglect conviction and correct what the defense called a sentencing error.

On Wednesday, nearly a year after they were sentenced to prison in the child's death, Darnell and Hare were back in a Sumter County courtroom to challenge their sentences.

"This is one of those situations where double jeopardy would apply," said Darnell's attorney Rhiannon Arnold.

Arnold argued that Darnell and his Jaren couldn't Be convicted of both child neglect and manslaughter because the neglect was an element of the state's manslaughter case.

In July of 2009, an eight and a-half-foot long albino Burmese python, which Hare kept as a pet, slithered out of its glass enclosure and into 2-year-old Shaianna Hare's crib inside the couple's Oxford home.

The snake wrapped itself around Shaianna Hare, suffocating her.

"Our argument would be that the court needs to vacate, correct the sentencing error. And vacate count three," said Arnold.

But as Jaren Hare and Darnell looked on in silence, assistant state attorney Pat Magrino argued that no error was made.

"We know the facts in this case, and I'm not conceding error with regard to the jury verdicts and the judgment and sentence that the court handed down," said Magrino.

Judge William Hallman said double jeopardy did not apply in this case. He added that even if he had sided with the defense, vacating the neglect charge it would do nothing to change his sentence.

"Even if it was just the one charge, I would still consider it a fair sentence," said Hallman

The couple's next challenge will come in a state appeals court.

The Sumter County python case sparked both statewide and federal bans on exotic pythons.

A 2010 state law makes it illegal to buy the non-native snakes anywhere in the state.

In January, the federal government announced a ban on the importation of yellow anacondas, Burmese pythons and other exotic species.
www.wftv.com/news/news/local/couple-jailed-girls-python-death-attempt-get-sente/nPbJD/


   

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