published Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Charges stand in running death and other news from areas around Chattanooga

Charges stand in running death

GADSDEN, Ala. — A judge refused Friday to dismiss a capital murder charge against an Alabama woman accused in the death of her 9-year-old granddaughter, who prosecutors say was run to death as punishment for a lie.

An Etowah County judge also refused again to set bond for Joyce Garrard, who has been jailed about two years awaiting trial.

Garrard, 48, is accused of forcing Savannah Hardin two years ago to run around her yard for three hours as punishment for a fib about eating candy.

The girl collapsed and later died.

The child's father, Robert Hardin, filed a malpractice suit this week against Gadsden Regional Medical Center over its treatment of the girl.

Hardin's lawsuit claims the Gadsden hospital failed to properly treat the girl for low sodium levels after her collapse.

The child was transferred from Gadsden Regional to another hospital in Birmingham, Children's of Alabama, where she died three days later.

The girl's stepmother, Jessica Hardin, also is charged with murder in her death and is free on bond. Prosecutors contend the woman contributed to the child's death by failing to intervene when Garrard forced her to run.

Garrard's trial is set to begin June 23.


4 from Gadsden held in slaying

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. — Police in Northeast Alabama say they've charged four Gadsden residents with capital murder in the gunshot killing of a Tuskegee man last month.

Albertville police say 20-year-old Maya Morris; 22-year-old Shontavious Williams; 23-year-old JaMichael Kinchen and 25-year-old Derunteze Parker are being held in the Marshall County Jail.

The four are charged in the death of 22-year-old Willie Coleman Jr., whose body was found inside an Albertville home on Jan. 9.

Police say they believe Coleman was shot to death during a robbery. Investigators don't think the victim knew the four suspects.


McDonough eyed for murder trial

MACON, Ga. — Court officials in central Georgia are considering McDonough as a possible venue for the trial of Stephen McDaniel.

He's accused of killing and dismembering Mercer University law school graduate Lauren Giddings in the Bibb County case.

Chief Henry County Superior Court Judge Arch McGarity said Bibb County has expressed interest in using Henry County's largest courtroom, which seats about 100 people.

Bibb County court representatives were expected to tour the McDonough courtroom soon if Henry County is still in consideration, the judge told The Telegraph newspaper of Macon.

An April 28 trial date has been set, but it hasn't been decided where it will take place.

Lawyers for Stephen McDaniel have requested a change of venue due to extensive publicity in central Georgia. McDonough is about 60 miles northwest of Macon, where prosecutors say the killing took place.

McDaniel was Giddings' next-door neighbor and a fellow Mercer University law school classmate when the woman from Laurel, Md., was killed in June 2011.

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