Grandmother to face capital charge in girl's death

12:43 PM, Mar 1, 2012   |    comments
Savannah Hardin, 9, died after being forced to run as punishment, according to authorities. (Associated Press)
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GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) - Alabama prosecutors say they are filing a capital murder charge - which carries the possibility of the death penalty - against a grandmother accused of running her 9-year-old granddaughter to death as punishment for eating chocolate.

Etowah County authorities announced the decision Thursday during a bond hearing for 46-year-old Joyce Garrard. A prosecutor called her the "drill sergeant from hell."

Garrard and 27-year-old Jessica Mae Hardin, the girl's stepmother, are charged with murder in the death of 9-year-old Savannah Hardin.

Defense lawyers say both women are innocent and predict they'll be acquitted.

Authorities say Savannah was forced to run for three hours before she collapsed. They say the grandmother became angry when Savannah ate chocolate, which the girl was not supposed to eat because of a medical condition.

(Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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