Joyce Garrard, Gadsden woman convicted in girl’s running death, dies

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Joyce Garrard has been convicted in the death of her granddaughter, Savannah Hardin.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A Gadsden woman serving life without parole in her granddaughter’s running death has died.

A prison spokesman says 50-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard died Friday, five days after being stricken at the state’s women’s prison.

The cause of death wasn’t immediately available, but defense attorney Dani Bone says Garrard apparently suffered a heart attack.

Garrard was convicted of killing 9-year-old Savannah Hardin by making her run as punishment for a lie about eating candy in 2012. Evidence during a trial last year showed the girl ran for hours outside Garrard’s home in rural northeastern Alabama.

Garrard testified that she never meant to harm the girl, but jurors convicted her of capital murder.

The child’s stepmother, Jessica Mae Hardin, is set for trial in June on a murder charge for allegedly failing to stop the punishment.

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