Parents on trial after pet python kills toddler

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:29 PM ET

A Florida couple whose pet python killed their two-year-old daughter are set to stand trial this week.

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of Charles "Jason" Darnell, 34, and Jaren Ashley Hare, 21, who face charges of third-degree murder, manslaughter and child neglect in the 2009 death of their daughter, Shaianna.

Investigators said Gypsy, the 8.5-foot-long Burmese python kept as a pet in the home, hadn't been fed for a month before it escaped from its tank, slithered down the hall and strangled the toddler in her crib.

The Orlando Sentinel reports the couple rejected a plea offer to admit guilt to manslaughter, which would have carried a maximum 10-year sentence.

If found guilty on all charges, they face up to 35 years in prison.


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