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Stepmother Charged in Child’s Running Death Seeks Freedom

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) – The stepmother of a 9-year-old Alabama girl who was allegedly run to death as punishment is asking a judge to lower her bond.

Jessica Mae Hardin is due in court Friday for a hearing on a request to reduce her bond from $500,000 so she can be released.

The woman had a baby after her arrest, but Judge William Ogletree previously refused a similar motion.

The 28-year-old Hardin and 47-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard are charged in the February death of Savannah Hardin, the older woman’s granddaughter. Hardin is charged with murder, Garrard with capital murder.

Authorities say Garrard made the girl run for about three hours as punishment for a lie about eating candy. They say Hardin didn’t intervene, and the girl collapsed.

Both women say they are innocent.

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Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

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