Alabama woman convicted of running granddaughter to death has died

Garrard Takes the Witness Stand in Her Murder Trial
Garrard Takes the Witness Stand in Her Murder Trial

(Reuters) -- An Alabama woman convicted of murder in the running death of her 9-year-old granddaughter died on Friday, less than a year into her sentence of life in prison without parole, her attorney said.

Joyce Garrard, 50, was convicted last March in the 2012 death of Savannah Hardin. Garrard made Hardin run for almost three hours while carrying wood as punishment for lying about having eaten chocolates.

The girl collapsed and went into seizures, later dying of dehydration and low sodium, prosecutors said.

Click through for photos of Garrard, her granddaughter:

Garrard suffered a heart attack in prison a few days ago, according to her defense attorney, Dani Bone. He said it has been a difficult time for the family.

"I believe the family is going to be somewhat relieved with the thought that Joyce is going to be in heaven with Savannah and her pain and suffering will be gone," said Bone.

Garrard said in a conversation with Hardin's school bus driver captured on a bus video that "she's going to run 'til I tell her to stop" as punishment. Hardin had a bladder condition and was not allowed to have sweets or caffeine, Garrard told the bus driver.

A representative for the Alabama Department of Corrections was not immediately available for comment.

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