GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — A judge ordered prosecutors Friday to turn over evidence about the death of a 9-year-old girl who police say was run to death by her grandmother, who is charged with capital murder and facing a possible death penalty.
Lawyers for Joyce Garrard complained during a hearing before Etowah County Circuit Judge Billy Ogletree that they still don't have police statements provided by eight witnesses in the 2012 death of Savannah Hardin even though Garrard's trial is set for this summer.
Prosecutors denied intentionally withholding any evidence, but Ogletree ordered them to provide the defense with the material by 5 p.m. Monday.
"No later," said Ogletree.
Garrard, 48, is set to go on trial June 23. Savannah collapsed outside Garrard's rural home and died in a hospital three days later.
Authorities say Garrard made the girl run for hours as punishment for a lie about eating candy. Garrard contends she is innocent, blaming the child's death on ongoing medical problems.
The girl's father has filed a lawsuit claiming a hospital treated the girl improperly after she collapsed.
The girl's stepmother, Jessica Mae Hardin, also is charged with murder, accused of allowing the punishment to take place. She is free on $150,000 bond, but Garrard has been jailed since her arrest more than two years ago.
Garrard's attorneys also are seeking evidence showing everything Hardin might have told police about the girl's death, but prosecutors resisted handing over all the material. The judge told both sides to file additional written legal arguments.
Ogletree said he would hold a hearing May 16 to consider issues including Garrard's request for details about Alabama's execution methods.
Garrard's lawyers asked the judge to make prosecutors release information about the procedures for conducting lethal injections, which the state has said are temporarily suspended because it ran out of one of three types of drugs used during the process.
Garrard, with her long hair pulled back in a ponytail, shuffled in and out of court with her feet shackled and her hands chained to her waist. Numerous relatives were in court to show their support.