Assault with snake unusual, but not unheard of
By Miles Smith
Historically, various animals have been used as assault and revenge weapons – most commonly dogs, according to author Carmen Cusack in her book “Animals and Criminal Justice.”
But, dating back to ancient Greece, weaponized animals have also included scorpions, spiders and snakes.
A Dale man in custody in Caldwell County Jail is accused of incorporating a similar method of attempted assault after deputies said he removed a rattlesnake’s rattle and placed the live reptile inside his neighbor’s RV following a verbal argument.
Deputies arrested Felton Sauter on June 17 on charges of deadly conduct and criminal trespass of a habitation – both Class A misdemeanors. His bail was set at $7,500 on each charge.
The victim, whom the Austin American-Statesman named as Keith Monroe in a recent report, lives in the RV next to Sauter’s. He was unharmed by the snake, which he told the Statesman measured about 3 feet long and had curled up on the driver’s side of the RV. He used a machete to kill the snake, according to the Statesman.
Using a snake as a weapon is not without precedent:
– According to the Associated Press, a Massachusetts man was charged with allegedly using a pet python to beat his girlfriend as she soaked in a hot tub in 2012. The woman survived, but the snake died.
– In Rock Hill, S.C., a man was charged in 2010 with assault and battery after allegedly terrorizing a fellow hotel guest with a python after he refused to turn down loud music. Police arrested the man after spotting him walking around with the snake still in his arms, according to WSOC-TV.
– Going way back to ancient Greece, warriors threw vipers and javelin sand boas into enemy ships before attacks to cause fear and confusion. The snakes lost their jobs as weapons after the fall of ancient Greece and have not been seen in Italy since 1937, according to mysteriousuniverse.org.
-Popular fact-checking website Snopes.com details a pair of incidents in which snakes were used as hold-up weapons. In 1998, the website claims a New Delhi newspaper reported an incident where three men with snakes draped over their necks and arms surrounded a three-wheeled taxi and began thrusting the snakes toward the passenger. And in Camden, N.J. in 1994, two people were purportedly taking a late night stroll when a car pulled up near a couple and two men got out, shoving a black snake in their faces before getting away with cash, a personal stereo and a watch.