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Woman charged with running stepdaughter to death may make plea

1:47 PM, Sep 21, 2012   |    comments
  • Joyce Hardin Garrard, 46, left, and Jessica Mae Hardin, 27, grandmother and stepmother of a 9-year-old Alabama girl who died after witnesses said she was forced to run for three hours as punishment for lying. (Courtesy Montgomery Advertiser/Gannett)
  • Savannah Hardin, 9, died after being forced to run as punishment, according to authorities. (Associated Press)
    
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GADSDEN, Ala. -- A plea deal may be in the works for the stepmother of a 9-year-old Alabama girl who was allegedly run to death as punishment.

Defense attorney Richard Rhea indicated during a court hearing Friday that talks between 28-year-old Jessica Mae Hardin and prosecutors may be underway.

Hardin and 47-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard are charged in the February death of Savannah Hardin, Garrard's granddaughter. Hardin is charged with murder, Garrard with capital murder.

Authorities say Garrard made the girl run for about three hours as punishment for a lie about eating candy. They say Hardin didn't intervene, and the girl collapsed; she died three days later.

Both women say they are innocent.

Hardin had a baby after her arrest and was in court asking a judge to reduce her $500,000 bond. The hearing was adjourned with no ruling.

(Associated Press)

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