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Grandmother, stepmother plead not guilty to running 9-year-old Savannah Hardin to death

Joyce Garrard AP Photo/Etowah County Sheriff's Office

Joyce Hardin Garrard (left) and Jessica Mae Hardin
Etowah County Sheriff's Office

(CBS/AP) GADSDEN, Ala. - Two women have pleaded not guilty in the death of 9-year-old Alabama girl Savannah Hardin, who authorities say was run to death last month as punishment for lying.

Pictures: Stepmom, grandmother accused of running girl to death

Wednesday's arraignment of the girl's 46-year-old grandmother Joyce Hardin Garrard and 27-year-old stepmother Jessica Mae Hardin took place in Etowah County Circuit Judge William Ogletree's courtroom.

Authorities say Savannah Hardin collapsed and later died after being forced to run and haul debris for three hours as punishment for lying to her grandmother about having eaten candy. Attorneys for both women say they are innocent and predict they'll be vindicated.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Garrard. Hardin faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted because, investigators say, she failed to step in and stop the punishment.

Complete coverage of Savannah Hardin's death on Crimesider


  • Crimesider Staff

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