A man convicted of causing the death of a toddler by draping a rattlesnake around her neck that then sank its fangs in her is appealing the case to the Utah Court of Appeals, court officials say.
The attorney for Darrell Lawrence Wessendorf, 25, has filed a notice of appeal in 5th District Court.Wessendorf was convicted of manslaughter in the May 7, 1987, death of 21-month-old Stevie Kirkwood, of LaVerkin. Judge J. Philip Eves on April 11 sentenced him to one to 15 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Wessendorf found the 5-foot-long rattler in the desert, teased several neighbors with it, then draped it around the girl's shoulder. The snake bit the child and she later died of respiratory and cardiac arrest caused by poisonous venom.
A district court clerk said the notice of appeal was filed May 4. The appeal goes to the state Court of Appeals instead of the Utah Supreme Court because Wessendorf's manslaughter conviction is a second-degree felony.
As of Thursday, the notice had not been received by the Court of Appeals, said clerk Timothy Shea.