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Crime & Courts

Hearing for woman accused in girl's running death

A hearing is set for a rural Alabama woman charged in the death of her 9-year-old stepdaughter, who authorities say was forced to run for hours as punishment for eating candy bars.

Authorities charged 27-year-old Jessica Hardin and the child's grandmother, 46-year-old Joyce Garrard, with murder in Savannah Hardin's death that was ruled a homicide.

Jessica Hardin gave birth to another child soon after her arrest last week. She is now back in the Etowah County jail after being released from a hospital. A hearing is set for Thursday but court dockets don't reveal the subject.

Sheriff's officials say the girl died after being made to run for three hours. Defense lawyers say both women are innocent and will be vindicated.

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