WILMINGTON, N.C. — Police say the owner of a snake zoo in North Carolina was shot to death, and his wife is charged with murder.

Local media report snake expert Dean Ripa was killed Saturday in an apartment above the Cape Fear Serpentarium. Wilmington police spokeswoman Cathryn Lindsay says 40-year-old Regina Ripa is charged with first-degree murder in her husband’s death.

The website for the New Hanover County Detention shows Regina Ripa is being held without bond with a court appearance scheduled for Monday.

The serpentarium’s website says 60-year-old Dean Ripa had survived 12 venomous snake bites. He founded the serpentarium in 2001.

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