CRIME

Was A 9-Year-Old Girl Forced To Run To Death Or Was It An Accident?

This photo released by the Etowah County Sheriff's Dept. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 shows Joyce Hardin Garrard, 46. Garrard
This photo released by the Etowah County Sheriff's Dept. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 shows Joyce Hardin Garrard, 46. Garrard and 27-year-old Jessica Mae Hardin, grandmother and stepmother of a 9-year-old Alabama girl who died after witnesses said she was forced to run for three hours as punishment for lying, have been charged with murder and are being held in jail. (AP Photo/Etowah County Sheriff's Office)

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — Closing arguments are set in the capital murder trial of an Alabama woman accused of making her granddaughter run until she died.

A judge told jurors to return to court Friday morning so prosecutors and defense lawyers could sum up the case of 49-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard.

Garrard was the last witness, denying she meant to harm 9-year-old Savannah Hardin.

Garrard says she made the girl pick up sticks after telling a lie, and she claims she was coaching the girl on running to improve her performance in races at school.

But prosecutors say Garrard actually made the girl run for hours as punishment. They cite a surveillance video that captured Garrard saying she would run the girl and teach her a lesson.

Jury deliberations will start after closing arguments.

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