Joyce Hardin Garrard: Grandmother Who Made 9-Year-Old Run To Death Sentenced To Life Without Parole

Joyce Hardin Garrard, the grandmother who forced her 9-year-old granddaughter to run to death, has been sentenced to life without parole.

In March, the jury found Garrard guilty of murder in the 2012 case of Savannah Hardin. While the jury recommended she be spared the death penalty, the decision was ultimately up to the Etowah County judge William Ogletree, according to the Huffington Post.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, Savannah Hardin died in February 2012 after her grandmother Joyce Hardin Garrard forced her to run laps outside for three hours while picking up sticks in the yard for allegedly lying to her about eating some candy bars. After becoming severely dehydrated, Savannah eventually collapsed and proceeded to have a seizure. She was taken to the hospital where she died three days later after being removed from life support by her doctors.

Joyce continuously denied that she had any intent of harming the child and claimed she was simply helping her do better in her gym class.

“[Savannah] asked me to coach her. Instead of coming second in her running class at school, she wanted to come first,” she said during her trial.

However, the prosecution reiterated the story, telling the jury that the poor girl was tortured and was made to run until she was vomiting and begging to stop.

“She was tortured,” Assistant District Attorney Carol Griffith told the jury.

“That lady right there ran her granddaughter until she was on her knees begging, ‘I’ve got to stop,’” District Attorney Jimmie Harp said.

“This case is the only case I know of where the perpetrator forced the victim to participate in her own death,” Deputy District Attorney Marcus Reid told the jury, according to Sky News. “Joyce Garrard forced Savannah Gardin to help kill herself.”

Jessica Mae Hardin, Savannah’s step-mother, has also been charged with murder since she witnessed the punishment and failed to intervene. She has yet to be tried, and is currently out on bail. If convicted, she could also face life in prison without parole.

Following her sentencing, Johnny Garrard was outraged, claiming his wife was innocent.

“It’s wrong. It’s plain wrong. I know what happened that day. And what they say happened, is not what happened. It’s all just wrong,” Garrard said.

Do you agree with Joyce’s sentence? Should she have received the death penalty? Leave your comments below.

[Photos via YouTube screenshots]