Alabama Grandmother Convicted Of Granddaughter’s Running Death Dies

The Alabama grandmother who was convicted of forcing her 9-year-old granddaughter to run to her death has died. Joyce Hardin Garrard, 50, reportedly died five days after taking ill in the Alabama state women’s prison.

The Inquisitr reported on the story of the Alabama grandmother, who was convicted in 2015 of killing her granddaughter after young Savannah Hardin was forced to run continually around her home as a punishment for stealing a chocolate candy bar.

The incident happened back in 2012 and the girl was reportedly made to run for more than three hours outside Garrard’s home in rural Alabama to teach her the importance of telling the truth.

At the time of the incident neighbors Chad and Julie Jacobs, who live across the road from the Alabama grandmother, heard Garrard shouting at the girl, “I didn’t tell you to stop!”

However, at the time, the couple was unaware of the severity of the situation until Savannah Hardin suffered a seizure and collapsed on the ground. At that stage, according to the couple, Garrard continued to shout at the girl, saying “Get up! I better not have to tell you again!”

Prosecutors in the case testified that Savannah was eventually crawling around the outside of the home and was crying and begging to stop before eventually dying from severe dehydration. Garrard was sentenced to life behind bars without parole for what was deemed to be homicide.

According to Defense Attorney Dani Bone, the Alabama grandmother suffered a heart attack on Sunday, shortly after a visit from relatives at the state women’s prison.

As reported by CNN, Garrard was taken from the Alabama state women’s prison in Wetumpka, Alabama to the Montgomery Hospital by helicopter ambulance and placed on life support, but eventually died.

As reported by, Joyce Hardin Garrard was left brain dead after the heart attack, although the official cause of death has not yet been announced.

Speaking of the death of the Alabama grandmother, Bone said this is “another loss for a family that already has lost so much.”

However, during the trial last year, jurors in Etowah County were on the side of the prosecutors, who had dubbed Garrard the “drill sergeant from hell” while describing Savannah’s death as agony, imposed by a woman she loved and trusted.


In her defense, the Alabama grandmother had testified she never meant to harm her granddaughter and that she remained outside with the girl, picking up sticks and talking to her about the importance of telling the truth.

According to Garrard, she was also coaching Savannah in how to run faster in school races. However, prosecutor Carol Griffith disagreed with the Alabama grandmother’s statements in her closing arguments, saying, “she was tortured.”

In the court case, it came out that Garrard was someone who grew up in a home where her father and material grandmother were both alcoholics, and according to testimony, conditions in the home were worse than “a third-world country.”

In the meantime, Savannah’s stepmother, Jessica Mae Hardin, is set to face trial on a murder charge in June of this year for allegedly failing to stop the extreme punishment imposed by Garrard on young Savannah, thus causing the child’s death. However, Hardin, who is currently free on bond, has reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charge.

[Photo via Flickr by Sara Jo/CC BY-ND 2.0]