Appeals court: Joyce Garrard case to continue

In this image made from video, Joyce Garrard is escorted by law enforcement officers to a court hearing in Gadsden, Ala., Tuesday, May 7, 2013. Circuit Judge William Ogletree refused to set bond for Garard as she awaits trial in the death of her of her 9-year-old granddaughter, Savannah Hardin, who prosecutors say was forced to run until she died. The girl was being punished for telling a lie in February 2012 when she collapsed. She died days later. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – An appeals court is refusing to dismiss a capital murder charge against an Alabama woman jailed in the running death of her 9-year-old granddaughter.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals rejected a challenge by Joyce Garrard.

Garrard has been held since 2012, but the court says trial delays haven’t violated her constitutional rights.

Prosecutors say Garrard forced granddaughter Savannah Hardin to run for hours as punishment for a lie. The girl collapsed and died later in a hospital.

The 49-year-old Boaz woman says she is innocent, and her lawyers blame the child’s death on other health problems.

The decision by the appeals court didn’t address Garrard’s claims about potential problems with the girl’s autopsy.

The judges ruled Friday. Garrard’s trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 23 in Etowah County.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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