The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

February 28, 2014

Judge: Trial in running death won't be moved

— GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — A judge refused to move the trial of a northeast Alabama woman charged in the death of her 9-year-old granddaughter, who authorities say was forced to run for hours as punishment until she collapsed and died in 2012.

Circuit Judge Billy Ogletree denied a defense request to move the upcoming trial of Joyce Garrard outside of Etowah County.

Ogletree did not give a reason for his decision in a one-sentence order.

Authorities contend Garrard, 48, forced Savannah Hardin to run around the yard for about three hours as punishment for a lie about candy. The girl collapsed and died three days later at a hospital in Birmingham.

Garrard maintains she is innocent, and many relatives are supporting her. She is being held without bond.

The girl's father recently sued Gadsden Regional Medical Center, where the child was treated after her collapse, and Garrard's defense maintains the girl died because of existing health problems and medical treatment.

Garrard's trial is set for June 23. She is charged with capital murder and could face a potential death penalty if convicted.

The defense claimed the case should be moved away from Etowah County because of extensive publicity about the case. A motion by Garrard's attorney, Dani Bone, said the woman could not receive a fair trial in Gadsden.

"The community of this county has been saturated with stories concerning this case, whether it be through newspaper articles, mouth to mouth or Facebook," Bone said in the motion. "A presumption of prejudice is well established by the volume and content of the media's coverage of this case."

The girl's stepmother, Jessica Hardin, also is charged with murder in her death and is free on bond. Prosecutors contend the woman contributed to the child's death by failing to intervene when Garrard forced her to run.

Text Only
Local News


Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

None of the above
     View Results
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee