The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 10, 2014

Bond denied, trial set in Etowah County girl's running death


Associated Press

GADSDEN —

An Etowah County woman has been denied bond on charges she forced her 9-year-old granddaughter to run until she collapsed and died.

At the hearing in Gadsden this morning, Circuit Judge William Ogletree scheduled a June 23 trial for 48-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard. She's charged with capital murder in the 2012 death of Savannah Hardin and has been jailed for almost two years. Garrard had requested that the charge be dropped.

Defense lawyers cited health concerns in their bond request, but Ogletree rejected the arguments.

Prosecutors say Garrard made the girl run for three hours as punishment for lying about eating candy. The child collapsed and died at a hospital three days later.

The girl's stepmother also is charged. She's accused of allowing the punishment to occur.

Both women say they're innocent.