Date
19 November 2017
Joyce Garrard forced her granddaughter to run for almost three hours while being made to carry wood. Photo: The Gadsden Times/AP
Joyce Garrard forced her granddaughter to run for almost three hours while being made to carry wood. Photo: The Gadsden Times/AP

Jury urges life term for grandma who forced girl to run to death

An American woman convicted of running her 9-year-old granddaughter to death as punishment for lying about having eaten chocolates may spend the rest of her life in jail upon the recommendation of a jury.

Joyce Garrard, who is reported to be 50, was found guilty of capital murder last week in the 2012 death of Savannah Hardin, Reuters reported, citing the local sheriff’s office in Alabama.

After finding her guilty, the jury was charged with determining whether to recommend a life sentence or the death penalty.

The judge in the case will ultimately decide whether to accept the jury’s recommendation or sentence Garrard to death at a hearing scheduled for May 11.

Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp said he was pleased with the outcome and would ask the judge to accept the jury’s recommended sentence.

After running for almost three hours while being made to carry wood, the girl, who lived in Etowah County, in northeast Alabama, collapsed, went into seizures and died days later in the hospital from dehydration and low sodium, authorities have said.

Garrard said in a conversation with the girl’s school bus driver captured on a bus video that “she’s going to run till I tell her to stop” as punishment.

Hardin had a bladder condition and was not allowed to have sweets or caffeine, Garrard told the bus driver.

The girl’s stepmother, Jessica Mae Hardin, has also been charged with murder, with authorities saying she witnessed the punishment and failed to intervene.

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