Running death trial could hinge on 1 word from 911 recording

Joyce Garrard, Savannah Hardin
Joyce Garrard (L) is accused of killing Savannah Hardin (R)

By JAY REEVES
Associated

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) – One word on a 911 recording could help decide the fate of an Alabama woman accused of making her granddaughter run until she died.

Audio from the emergency call was played last week in the trial of 49-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard. She faces a capital murder charge in the death of 9-year-old Savannah Hardin.

On the 911 call, Garrard is heard asking for something. A 911 operator says Garrard was asking someone for “a smoke,” or a cigarette. The defense says she was asking for “a throw,” or a blanket.

What jurors believe they hear could be critical since the word could be interpreted as callousness or compassion.

Prosecutors say Garrard made the girl run for hours as punishment. Garrard says she is innocent.

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