Joyce Hardin Garrard

Joyce Hardin Garrard

Crimes: Child Abuse, Murder

My own grandmother, long since passed away, was the kind of grandmother everyone should have. She baked goodies and knitted mittens and scarves for the grandkids. She took us on nature walks, teaching us all sorts of things along the way. She talked to us like we were real people, answered our questions, and she listened to us too. She didn’t yell or even raise her voice — she relied on “the look” to keep us in line. Grandma seemed to like spending time with us, and we all knew we were loved by her.

Nine-year-old Savannah Hardin of Etowah County, Alabama, USA needed a grandmother like mine, someone who cherished her. Instead, she got Joyce Hardin Garrard, a “drill sergeant from hell”. I don’t know why the woman had it out for Savannah — she was a lovely girl with a cheeky grin who loved horses and cheerleading.

Savannah Hardin’s parents got divorced in 2006, and the girl wound up in her father’s custody. He got work overseas working for the government, and entrusted Savannah to the care of his mother, Joyce Hardin Garrard, and his second wife, Jessica Mae Hardin. Bad move.

Savannah Hardin should have been safe staying with her grandmother, her stepmother and her 3-year-old half-brother, but she wasn’t. On February 17, 2012 the girl ate a candy bar on the school bus. Apparently, because of a bladder condition she had, eating candy bars was a no-no.

Savannah Hardin probably knew she was in for a world of trouble if her grandmother found out what she’d done, so naturally she lied. What kid wouldn’t? Unfortunately, the secret eating of the candy bar coupled with the lie was enough to ignite Joyce Hardin Garrard’s wrath.

When the hellbitch of a grandmother picked Savannah Hardin up from the bus, she straight out told the bus driver, “She’s going to run until I tell her to stop.” She meant that as a punishment. And that’s what happened.

Savannah HardinSavannah Hardin, for 3 hours plus nonstop, was made to run while carrying firewood in the yard of 20 Carlisle Acres Drive. Yes, I said nonstop. Joyce Hardin Garrard was heard by neighbours yelling at the girl to keep running. “Keep running, I didn’t tell you to stop,” she’d said.

The neighbours also heard the poor girl literally begging to be allowed to stop, but her grandmother showed no mercy. There were no rest stops for Savannah, and no breaks for water, not even when the girl vomited and was showing signs of serious distress. That’s torture, people!

How on earth can anyone be so angry over such a minor infraction? How can anyone subject a child to 3 hours of any kind of punishment over a candy bar and a fib? What Joyce Hardin Garrard put that child through was so severe that it was downright sadistic.

So where was the stepmother, Jessica Mae Hardin, all this time? Well, apparently she was in the home with her son the whole time. She kept quiet and didn’t interfere with her stepdaughter’s punishment. She didn’t participate in the events, but neither did she rescue Savannah from her ordeal.

Because Jessica Mae Hardin was Savannah’s primary caregiver while her husband was away, it was her responsibility to keep her stepdaughter safe from abuse. IMO she failed on every level at being a caregiver, a stepmother and a human being.

Finally, and tragically, Savannah collapsed from the extreme physical exertion. And finally, belatedly, Jessica Mae Hardin took action. At 6:45 p.m. she called 911.

The recording of that 911 call was interesting — while Jessica Mae Hardin was asking for help for poor Savannah, Joyce Hardin Garrard was asking for a cigarette. “Give me a smoke,” she said while her granddaughter was lying on the ground unconscious.

Savannah Hardin was transported to a hospital in Gadsden severely dehydrated, unresponsive and having seizures. She was then airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. On February 20, 2012 she died.

The poor girl’s father had to take 8 flights to get home, and was able to be with her 4 hours before she was taken off the ventilator.

WTF! A beautiful 9-year-old girl was literally run to death because she fibbed about eating a candy bar.

“Basically she was caused to undergo physical exertion to the point in time where she just got dehydrated and her electrolyte levels got to the point where she couldn’t survive life,” said Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp.

Savannah Hardin’s death was ruled a homicide, and Joyce Hardin Garrard, 46 and Jessica Mae Hardin, 27, were charged with murder in her death.

Joyce Hardin Garrard

At trial the hellbeastly grandmother denied intending to harm her granddaughter. Instead she insisted that the girl had wanted to become a faster runner after finishing second in a race at school, so she was just trying to help her do that. She also insisted that, at most, Savannah had run 45 minutes. Riiiight.

And as for asking for a smoke on the 911 tape, Joyce Hardin Garrard said she’d actually asked for a throw, i.e. a blanket to put over the unconscious girl. Damn if it didn’t sound like she’d said “smoke”.

“This case is the only case I know of where the perpetrator forced the victim to participate in her own death,” Deputy District Attorney Marcus Reid told the jurors. “Joyce Garrard forced Savannah Hardin to help kill herself.”

On March 28, 2015, the jury found Joyce Hardin Garrard guilty of capital murder. They recommended a sentence of life in prison without parole. In May 2015, Etowah County Circuit Judge Billy Ogletree upheld the jury’s recommendation and spared the sadistic grandmother the death penalty.

Jessica Mae Hardin is scheduled to go to trial on February 22, 2016. She is charged with murder during aggravated child abuse. She’s been free on bond since January 7, 2013. I shall endeavour to update readers — reminders are welcome.

Joyce Hardin Garrard will spend the rest of her life paying for her evil actions. As Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp said, “[L]ife inside Julia Tutwiler prison … until the point she ceases to exist, is a death sentence to me. It’s just a question of when that death occurs.”

RIP, Savannah Hardin. I extend my heartfelt sympathies to her friends and family who loved and miss her. That poor kid deserved a long, happy life, bless her heart.

Live5News article – charges
Gadsden Times article – Jessica Hardin scheduled trial article – testimony News article – interview with jury foreman News article – sentencing scheduled News article – sentencing
Fox News article – sentencing

11 Responses to Joyce Hardin Garrard

  1. bulldoggy says:

    Welcome back Cleo. Too bad you were sick and not on vacation. Anyway I remember reading about this story. Sick bitch she is. I’m glad she got life in prison for killing that lovely little girl.

  2. DecentPeopleOnly says:

    The Evil State of the ” Modern Liberal ” World is Sickening

  3. Bengalpuss says:

    The stupid bitch’s shoul’ve been made to run non stop until she dropped dead, KARMA is what these people deserve.

  4. Bengalpuss says:

    She wanted savannah to be a faster runner because she came second in a race? Its like saying you want a swimmer to become better and then train her until she drown’s, fucking idiot, insulting our intelligence.

  5. MoodyMagic says:

    This sick bitch of a grandmother deserves so much more than life. Burn in hell granny. As for the step monster you are no more less guilty of this poor child than granny is. You did nothing to stop what was happening. Sick bitch.

  6. Tom Daly says:

    She shouldn’t deserve to HAVE grandchildren. If you ask me, the only good she’d do for the world would be as fertilizer.

  7. Tom Daly says:

    Well, even though the stepmother didn’t actually abuse the girl, she didn’t REALLY do anything to stop her mother hurting the girl, did she? The LEAST she could’ve done was to say “Aren’t you overreacting a little bit over a CANDY BAR?” But, we’ll never know, will we?

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