• Appeals court upholds sentences after 2-year-old strangled by python


    SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. - A mother and her boyfriend will continue serving 12-year sentences for the strangulation death of her 2-year-old daughter, Shaianna Hare.

    Charles Darnell and the girl's mother, Jaren Hare, were sentenced to prison after the 8 ½-foot python escaped from its tank and crawled into Shaianna's crib, strangling her to death in July 2009.

    On Friday, an appeals court in Sumter County upheld the manslaughter convictions.

    The court, however, threw out the child neglect charges, calling it double jeopardy.

    The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a person will not be prosecuted twice for the same incident, the main exceptions being mistrial or if a convicted defendant has asked for an appeal.

    The python case sparked both statewide and federal bans on exotic pythons.

    A 2010 state law makes it illegal to buy the nonnative snakes anywhere in the state.

     A python hunt is under way in the Everglades, with $1,500 going to both the hunter who bags the longest snake and the hunter who bags the most snakes overall.

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