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Rock Hill man accused of using snake as weapon wants jury trial

The snake-as-a-weapon assault case that brought global attention to Rock Hill won't be resolved for at least another month.

Tony Smith, 29 -- accused of using the four-foot-long python to attack another Rock Hill man -- pleaded innocent Thursday in Rock Hill Municipal Court to an assault and battery charge related to the alleged April 13 snake attack on Jeffrey Culp.

Smith asked the judge for a jury trial and a court-appointed attorney.

Culp, who has a self-described fear of reptiles, told police he was attacked by a neighbor at the Executive Inn in Rock Hill. After Thursday's hearing, Culp said he was disappointed not to have a resolution to the case.

"All he has to do is write me an apology letter and I'd drop the charges," Culp said.

Police charged Smith with misdemeanor assault after finding Smith still carrying the snake at the North Anderson Road hotel.

Culp said he had asked Smith to be quiet earlier that night. Then Smith tapped him on the shoulder and put the snake, Moudkaii, in his face, he said.

Smith squeezed the snake's mouth open so the teeth were showing, Culp said, and the snake bit his face.

Yet Smith, who faces 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted, said the snake never touched Culp.

"If that snake would have bit him where (Culp) said it bit him, it would have been a whole lot worse," Smith told The Herald last month. "The snake has about 100 teeth."

Smith was pet-sitting for a friend at the time of the altercation. The pet's owner, Tim Villejoin, said the snake is gentle and has never lashed out at anyone.

Smith's trial in front of six jurors hasn't been scheduled.