Grand jury indicts women in girl's running death

March 9, 2012 - 11:25 PM

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama grand jury has indicted the grandmother and stepmother of a 9-year-old girl who died after being forced to run three hours as a punishment.

The Etowah County District Attorney's Office said Friday evening that 46-year-old Joyce Garrard was indicted for capital murder and 27-year-old Jessica Hardin was indicted for felony murder in the February death of Hardin's stepdaughter, Savannah.

A spokeswoman said no court date for the women from Attalla, Ala., has been announced.

Prosecutors charged Hardin with felony murder but charged Garrard with the capital offense because Savannah's death happened during another felony, child abuse. Authorities said Hardin didn't intervene when Garrard punished the girl for lying.

Attorneys for both women have denied they did anything intentional to harm Savannah and they predict both will be acquitted.