On February 17, 2012, 50-year-old Garrard discovered that her granddaughter, Savannah Hardin, had lied to her about eating candy she had taken from one of her classmates. As punishment, the grandmother forced Savannah to run outside for more than three hours.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) May 12, 2015
Neighbors Chad and Julie Jacobs – who resides across the street –, witnessed the cruel grandmother shouting at the girl, “I didn’t tell you to stop!” but the couple didn’t realize the severity of the situation until the girl had a seizure and collapsed on the ground.
“Joyce and Savannah were in the yard, and Joyce was telling Savannah to keep running,” Chad stated. “She was just saying, ‘Keep running, I didn’t tell you to stop’.”
Although she didn’t have any strength left, Garrard continued to shout at her, saying “Get up! I better not have to tell you again!” as Savannah lay motionless on the ground.
Paramedics later arrived at the scene and rushed Savannah to Birmingham Hospital, where she died three days later from extreme physical exertion, an autopsy report confirmed.
— CBC World News (@CBCWorldNews) May 12, 2015
After forcing her granddaughter to run to death, Garrard was later arrested and convicted of capital murder, according to the Washington Post.
However, Savannah’s grandmother was not the only one charged in her death. Jessica Hardin – who is Savannah’s step mother – was also charged with felony murder because she did nothing to intervene as the grandmother forced her granddaughter to run to death. It is believed that she will be on trial next year.
“We fully expect her case to go forward in trial,” said Attorney Jimmie Harp. “A lot of the evidence you saw in the Joyce Garrard trial — you may see some of that stuff again, you may not. We expect her to have her day in court, and we expect to prosecute it. Unless she decides she wants to enter a guilty plea. At this point and time, there’s not been any negotiations.”
“This has been a very unique case, factually and legally,” District Attorney Marcus Reid said. “We’ve had to explore some new ground on the law as well as the facts. It’s been a very emotionally trying case. This one is very unusual and that’s probably one of the reasons it attracted so much attention.”
Joyce Hardin Garrard was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the 2012 death of 9-year-old Savannah Hardin.
[Image courtesy of Getty Images/David Mcnew]