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Savannah Hardin Update: Joyce Garrard And Jessica Hardin Plead Not Guilty In 'Run To Death' Case

By JAY REEVES 03/21/12 03:07 PM ET AP

Savannah Hardin Trial
Joyce Garrard and Jessica Hardin, grandmother and stepmother to 9-year-old Savannah Hardin, have pleaded not guilty to killing her.

GADSDEN, Ala. -- Two women have pleaded not guilty in the death of a 9-year-old Alabama girl who authorities say was run to death as punishment for lying.

Wednesday's arraignment of the girl's 46-year-old grandmother Joyce Hardin Garrard and 27-year-old stepmother Jessica Mae Hardin took place in Etowah County Circuit Judge William Ogletree's courtroom.

Authorities say Savannah Hardin collapsed and later died after being forced to run and haul debris for three hours as punishment for a lie about candy. Attorneys for both women say they are innocent and predict they'll be vindicated.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Garrard. Hardin faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted.

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Filed by Kyle McGovern  |