August 25, 2011
"It's not right. We let a murderer go free." says Laurie Darnell, a relative.
Laurie Darnell says it's outrageous her step-son and his girlfriend are going to prison even though they fully cooperated with investigators, unlike Casey Anthony who got off scott free.
"And she's gonna make millions. And his kids are gonna suffer without him," Darnell says.
Charles Darnell and Jaren Hare were both sentenced to 12 years in prison for manslaughter after 2-year-old Shaianna Hare was strangled to death by their pet python.
Their defense attorney said the jury was influenced by what happened during the Anthony trial.
"The jury wanted to make an example after Casey Anthony," says Rhiannon Arnold, Charles Darnell's defense attorney.
The couple plans to appeal the decision.
Darnell's attorney says the Anthony acquittal pressured the jurors to convict Darnell and Hare when the death of the child was just an accident.
"Certainly, the fact that our case went the week after Casey Anthony was acquitted of all charges, after going 31 days, allegedly, without claiming her child was missing definitely had an impact on my case, certainly," Arnold says.
But prosecutors told the judge what happened other cases had nothing to do with the fact that Darnell and Hare allowed the python to escape its tank repeatedly and never had a license to own a wild animal.
"To the Casey Anthony case, I'm not concerned. I don't consider that. Just like i don't consider what occurred in the o.J. Simpson case years and years back," says the prosecutor.