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UPDATE: Jurors recommend life without parole for Alabama woman in granddaughter's running death

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By JAY REEVES

Associated Press

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) - Jurors have reached a verdict on a sentence for an Alabama woman convicted of capital murder in her granddaughter's running death.  Jurors have recommended life without parole.

The decision came Thursday on the defendant Joyce Hardin Garrard's 50th birthday.

The same jury convicted Garrard of capital murder last week in the February 2012 death of 9-year-old Savannah Hardin.

Prosecutors told jurors the woman deserved to die for making the girl run for hours as punishment for a lie about candy. The child collapsed and died later in a hospital.

The defense asked for mercy, arguing that Savannah loved Garrard and wouldn't want her put to death.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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By JAY REEVES, Associated Press

GADSDEN, AL (AP) - Security is tight for opening statements in the capital murder trial of an Alabama woman accused of making her granddaughter run until she died.

Etowah County deputies were using a metal detector to screen anyone entering court Monday for the trial of 49-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard.

No cellphones are allowed in court, and relatives of the woman have designated seating behind the defense table.

READ MORE | State wants no questions on autopsy doctor in running death

Prosecutors say Garrard forced 9-year-old Savannah Hardin to run for hours as punishment for a lie about eating candy three years ago. The girl eventually collapsed and died in a hospital.

The defense says Garrard is innocent and never intended to do anything to harm the girl.

Opening statements are expected Monday. Attorneys are marking evidence, and the judge is giving final instructors to jurors.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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