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Criminal Justice

Remorseful Mom Who Nixed 10-Year Deal Gets 12-Year Sentence in Pet Python’s Killing of Tot

Posted Aug 24, 2011 3:33 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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An apologetic mother of a 2-year-old child killed at home by her pet Burmese python was sentenced today to a 12-year prison term—as was the mother's boyfrend—after being convicted last month of manslaughter by a Florida jury.

Jaren Hare, 21, and Charles "Jason" Darnell, 34, had rejected a pretrial deal that would have limited their sentences to a maximum of 10 years, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

Their nearly 9-foot pet reportedly was severely underweight, had not eaten in a month, and, because it was insecurely caged, frequently escaped. In July 2009 it slithered into the crib of Shaianna Rose Hare and asphyxiated her.

"You both were keeping a wild animal, a wild animal which is dangerous," said Circuit Judge William H. Hallman III, noting the snake's proclivity to escape. "Any reasonable person would realize that creates a grave danger."

The couple could have gotten as much as 45 years each. However, the prosecution said sentencing guidelines called for 15-year terms, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

The snake, which Hare purchased at a flea market with her mother's permission when she was 14, is now in the custody of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and being used for military training.

As detailed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts, a national ban on keeping Burmese pythons and similar snakes as pets has been proposed:

Fla.‘s Python Problem Prompts Proposed National Ban on Imports

Python Ban Planned to Address Giant Snake ‘Invasion’ in US

Updated at 4 p.m. to clarify the lede.

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