Entries in Snake (5)


Florida Couple Found Guilty After Pet Python Strangles Girl

Orange County Corrections Dept(BUSHNELL, Fla.) -- It took the jury less than two hours to find Jaren Hare and her boyfriend Charles Darnel guilty on all charges in the death of Hare's young daughter, who was killed by their pet python.

They were found guilty of third-degree murder, manslaughter and child abuse. Hare's 2-year-old daughter, Shaianna, was killed by the pet Burmese python two years ago when the snake escaped from its enclosure and strangled the girl in her crib. The snake's tank was only equipped with a quilt for a lid.

The jury rejected the defense's argument that this was simply a terrible accident.

After the verdict was read out, Darnell tried to comfort his sobbing girlfriend. The two could face up to 45 years in prison. Darnell will likely face more time than Hare because he has six prior felony convictions. They had been offered a plea deal for 10 years in prison, but turned it down.

Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino showed the jury two photos of Shaianna, one where she was a smiling, happy child and another showing her lifeless body with bite marks on her face. He pointed at the couple and argued to the jury that "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."

Hare's mother testified for the state, saying she warned her daughter about the dangers of having the snake and even offered to buy it and keep it at her home and in a locked enclosure.

Hare's defense attorney, Ismael Solis, argued that Gypsy, the 8-foot-6 inch snake, had been a family pet for five years and had always been docile. "If you have children around the house and it's a venomous snake and you don't put a secure lid on a venomous snake and it gets out and bits one of the kids, you should be punished. But Gypsy was a gentle snake," Solis said during the trial.

Darnell's attorney argued, "He is not guilty of manslaughter. He is not guilty of murder. He's not guilty of neglecting that child. He is guilty of making a stupid decision and having a stupid pet."

But the jury did not buy it. "We also felt that, as the parents and caregivers, their responsibility was to preclude any chance that there could be an incident of any kind, because a 2-year-old could not protect herself," the foreperson told reporters after the trial.

Outside the courtroom, Shaianna's biological father, Joe Gilkerson, said justice was served and that he was bothered by Hare's lack of emotion throughout the four-day trial. "You got some times (in court) where she's got emotions and then some times where she looked like she could care less," Gilkerson told reporters. "I mean, that was our daughter. How can you have an emotionless face?"

Hare and Darnell are the parents of a daughter who was born about a month after Shaianna was strangled to death. It is not clear who is caring for the girl now.

Sentencing is set for August 24.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bronx Zoo Asks for Help In Naming Fugitive Cobra

Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society(NEW YORK) -- Julius Squeezer? Loosie? Perhaps Sssssamantha?

Those are just a few of the names Twitter users are suggesting for the venomous Egyptian cobra that alarmed and delighted New Yorkers when it escaped from its Bronx Zoo enclosure more than a week ago, before it was found Thursday following an intensive six-day search.

"The Bronx Zoo cobra captivated the city – and the world – with her escape. And now the slick serpent needs a name,” the New York Post says on its website. The Post joined the Bronx Zoo in announcing the contest.

The 20-foot-long female cobra built up a huge following on Twitter, where a mystery user set up a spoof account -- @BronxZoosCobra -- to document the imaginary escapades of the escaped reptile.

Users can submit suggestions to The winning name will be announced Thursday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Escaped Deadly Cobra Found after Days on the Loose

Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society(NEW YORK) -- The venomous Bronx Zoo Egyptian cobra that alarmed and delighted New Yorkers when it escaped from its enclosure was found Thursday, ending a six-day search for the celebrated snake.

No zoo workers were injured. They described the outcome of the six-day search as "positive," according to WABC-TV.

The poisonous cobra disappeared from the zoo last Saturday and immediately became New York's newest and skinniest celebrity.

Zoo officials had insisted that the 20-foot-long female reptile -- whose species is native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula -- was contained within the Reptile House, which was closed to the public as soon as keepers noticed that the snake had gone on the lam.

The teenage cobra built up a huge following on Twitter, with nearly 200,000 followers, while it remained elusive. Since Monday, the Twitter account @BronxZoosCobra has tweeted the imaginary escapades of the escapee.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Zoo Officials: Search for Missing Cobra Could Go on For Weeks

Salah Malkawi/Getty Images (file photo)(BRONX, N.Y.) -- Officials at New York's Bronx Zoo are still searching for the Egyptian cobra that went missing from its enclosure Friday.

Zoo officials say they are confident the snake is still in the Reptile House and have taken certain measures to track the its movement.  Now, they are just playing the waiting game.

“At this point, it’s just like fishing; you put the hook in the water and wait,” Jim Breheny, senior vice president for the Wildlife Conservation Society and Bronx Zoo director, said in a statement.  “Our best strategy is patience, allowing her time to come out of hiding.”

The zoo’s Reptile House has been closed off since the 20-inch-long, pencil-thin snake was discovered missing from an off-exhibit enclosure Friday.

Breheny said staff members are conducting sweeping searches on a daily basis, but that it could be days or weeks before the snake is found due to the complexity of holding areas in the Reptile House.

Meanwhile, the snake’s popularity is growing in the social media world.  A joke Twitter account has popped up bearing the username “Bronx Zoo’s Cobra,” and already has over 30,000 followers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egyptian Cobra Snake Goes Missing From Bronx Zoo

Salah Malkawi/Getty Images/File(NEW YORK) -- Officials at the Bronx Zoo in New York are frantically searching for one of their residents, a deadly Egyptian cobra snake, which has gone missing from the zoo.

Officials say the zoo’s Reptile House was closed Friday after staff realized that the 20-inch-long snake was missing from an off-exhibit enclosure. The zoo issued a statement saying that once it was discovered that the snake was missing, the building was immediately sealed off and workers took steps to try to locate the animal.

Officials say based on the natural history and behavior of snakes, the adolescent Egyptian cobra is likely to seek closed-in spaces, as snakes are not comfortable in open areas. The zoo’s staff say they are confident that the snake is contained in an isolated non-public area of the building, and workers will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the public.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio