|District Attorney Jimmie Harp|
Joyce Garrard, the woman who was convicted of capital murder in the 2012 running death of her 9-year-old granddaughter, received a recommended sentence of life in prison without parole Thursday from a jury in Etowah County on Thursday.
Garrard's attorney Sam Bone released a statement regarding the conviction and jury's recommended sentence late Thursday. Bone said Joyce Garrard has been wrongly convicted of capital murder. The consequences of this conviction will be far reaching and profound. Bone said This verdict will affect little league coaches, PE teachers, foremen at Goodyear, and others. Anytime someone is pushing another to better themselves, there will be a fear of being prosecuted. Bone said This is the first verdict in history where someone was convicted for capital murder for running. Bone said they will be appealing Garrards conviction.
Jurors rejected prosecutors' pleas for a death sentence for Joyce Hardin Garrard Thursday. The decision came on a split vote: seven for life, five for death. It also came on Garrard's 50th birthday. Members of her family cried in the courtroom after the sentence recommendation was announced.
Under Alabama law, a vote of at least 10 of 12 jurors was required for the panel to recommend death. A simple majority could recommend life. District attorney Jimmie Harp said he was pleased with the jury recommendation and will ask the judge to accept it.The verdict is only a recomendation under Alabama law. Circuit Judge Billy Ogletree will make the final sentencing decision at a hearing May 11.