Judge opens jury selection to public in trial for girl’s running death

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GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) – A judge has reversed himself and will allow the public to attend jury selection for an Alabama woman charged in her granddaughter’s running death.

A spokeswoman says Etowah County Circuit Judge Billy Ogletree granted a defense request Tuesday to open the jury selection process to the public.  Attorneys for 59-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard protested after Ogletree closed the courtroom for the first day of juror questioning Monday.

Authorities say Garrard killed 9-year-old Savannah Hardin by forcing her to run for hours as punishment for a lie.  Garrard says she’s innocent.

Jury selection is typically done in open court, and the defense said excluding the public was unconstitutional.

Attorneys are scheduled to continue questioning potential jurors through Wednesday.