BUSHNELL, Fla. – A central Florida couple has been convicted in the death of a toddler strangled in her crib by a pet python.
A Sumter County jury found 21-year-old mother Jaren Hare and her live-in boyfriend, 34-year-old Charles "Jason" Darnell, guilty Thursday of manslaughter, third-degree murder and child neglect. They each face 35 years in prison. Both previously rejected plea agreements for 10 years in prison.
Authorities say an 8-foot-6-inch albino Burmese python wrapped itself around 2-year-old Shianna Hare's head on July 1, 2009. Testimony revealed the snake had not been fed for a month before the attack.
Defense attorneys argued that the death was an accident, and there was no way to know that the tame pet would kill a child.