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Two-year-old squeezed to death in her cot by pet python

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albino-pythonA TWO-year-old girl was squeezed to death by a pet python which had been starved for a month, a court heard.


The snake was discovered coiled around the child with its fangs buried in her forehead as she lay in her cot.

Now mother Jaren Hare, 21, is facing up to 35 years behind bars for third-degree murder.

Hare, and boyfriend Charles Darnell, 34, are on trial in Florida – two years after daughter Shaianna died.

The court heard Darnell sobbed to a 911 operative: “The baby's dead. Our stupid snake got out in the middle of the night and strangled the baby.”

The animal, called Gypsy, was kept in a tank with only a duvet thrown over the top, tethered loosely with bungee cords and safety pins, to try to prevent it from escaping, the court was told.

Assistant state attorney Peter Magrino, prosecuting, said: “Those two adult defendants are responsible for the unlawful death of Shaianna Hare.

An autopsy revealed that the little girl died of asphyxiation by the non-venomous python, which kills prey by tightening itself around them until they can no longer breathe.

Its last meal was a squirrel that its owners had found dead in the road.

Legal experts have likened the couple's failure to keep the snake in a secure enclosure to leaving a loaded firearm lying around for a child to pick up.

Darnell's lawyer, Rhiannon Arnold, told the court that Shaianna's death was 'a terrible accident' and that Gypsy – who Hare had owned since buying her at a flea market for $200 when she was 14 - was a much-loved pet that the couple had no reason to think was a danger, even riding in the front seat of their car with them when they went out.

She said: “This snake was no different than a family dog. While that could seem strange…some people like cats, some people like dogs. Some people have rabbits, some people have hamsters.”

Darnell and Hare both deny charges of third-degree murder, manslaughter of a child and felony child neglect.


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