Jury finds python owner not guilty in deaths of boys

Campbellton, New Brunswick — A jury has found a Canadian man not guilty of criminal negligence causing death after his African rock python escaped its enclosure and killed two young New Brunswick boys three years ago.

Noah Barthe, 4, and Connor Barthe, 6, died during a sleepover in Jean-Claude Savoie’s apartment in August 2013.

The python escaped by traveling through a ventilation duct and dropping into the living room where the boys slept. A pathologist who performed autopsies on the boys said they died of asphyxiation and each was covered in puncture wounds from snake bites.

Savoie and his relatives wept in court as the verdict was delivered Wednesday night.

Savoie’s lawyer argued Savoie believed the snake was too big get through the duct, so he didn’t see a need to secure the opening.