Girl's running death: State denies autopsy problem

AP News
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Posted: Dec 04, 2014 1:25 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Prosecutors are denying claims that autopsy problems should derail the murder case against an Alabama woman charged with forcing her granddaughter to run for hours and causing her death.

Lawyers for 49-year-old Joyce Garrard allege wrongdoing by the doctor who performed the 2012 autopsy on 9-year-old Savannah Hardin. They also contend repeated delays are violating Garrard's constitutional right to a speedy trial.

But in documents filed with the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, the state argues the defense is knowingly making false claims about the autopsy doctor and says the defense is partly to blame for delays.

Prosecutors charge Garrard forced Savannah to run for hours as punishment for a lie, causing her death. Garrard has pleaded not guilty.

Garrard's capital murder trial is scheduled Feb. 23 in Etowah County.