Guilty verdict in python strangling case

SUMTER, FL (WFLX) - A Sumter County jury has found Jaren Hare and her boyfriend, Charles Darnell, guilty of third degree murder, manslaughter and child abuse in the death of a 2-year-old strangled by a pet python.

It took the six-person jury less than two hours to reach a decision.

During closing arguments Thursday morning, Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino, once again, referred to Gypsy, the Burmese python, only as the "instrument of death".

"The snake is not at fault in this case. It's a wild animal. The responsibility for the death of that child is those defendants right there," said Magrino as he pointed toward the couple.

A deputy medical examiner testified Wednesday the python wrapped itself around 2-year-old Shianna Hare's head in an attempt to eat her on July 1, 2009. Testimony revealed the snake had not been fed for a month before the attack.

Authorities found the tank secured only by a quilt fastened with baby pins.

Hare and Darnell face up to 35 years on third-degree murder, manslaughter and child neglect charges.

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