Grandmother Who Made 9 Year Old Girl Run To Death Is Sentenced To Life Without Parole
A woman who forced her nine-year-old granddaughter to run until she collapsed and died has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for Joyce Hardin Garrard, who made Savannah Hardin sprint outside her home for hours as punishment for lying about eating chocolate.
Savannah eventually collapsed and vomited because of the prolonged exercise in 2012.
She died several days later in hospital after doctors removed her from life support.
Garrard had continually denied that she had intended to harm the child during her trial in Alabama - and insisted she was helping her granddaughter to do better in gym classes.
The 50-year-old had told the court: "[Savannah] asked me to coach her. Instead of coming second in her running class at school, she wanted to come first."
Jurors voted 7-5 in favour of life in prison without the possibility of parole - but under Alabama law, Judge Billy Ogletree did have the option to override their recommendation and sentence Garrard to death by lethal injection.
As they considered the sentence, Deputy District Attorney Marcus Reid told the jury: "This case is the only case I know of where the perpetrator forced the victim to participate in her own death. Joyce Garrard forced Savannah Gardin to help kill herself."