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Two Charged in Death of 9 Year Old Girl


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#1 Creditchick

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:53 AM

:angry:

2 charged in death of Ala girl forced to run
ATTALLA, Ala. (AP) — Roger Simpson said he looked down the road and saw a little girl running outside her home but didn't give it another thought. Police, however, said the man witnessed a murder in progress.

Authorities say 9-year-old Savannah Hardin died after being forced to run for three hours as punishment for having lied to her grandmother about eating candy bars. Severely dehydrated, the girl had a seizure and died days later. Now, her grandmother and stepmother who police say meted out the punishment were taken to jail Wednesday and face murder charges.

Witnesses told deputies Savannah was told to run and not allowed to stop for three hours on Friday, an Etowah County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said. The girl's stepmother, 27-year-old Jessica Mae Hardin, called police at 6:45 p.m., telling them Savannah was having a seizure and was unresponsive.

Simpson said he saw a little girl running at around 4 p.m., but didn't see anybody chasing or coercing her.

"I saw her running down there, that's what I told the detectives," Simpson said from his home on a hill overlooking the Hardins. "But I don't see how that would kill her."

Authorities are still trying to determine whether Savannah was forced to run by physical coercion or by verbal commands. Deputies were told the girl was made to run after lying to her grandmother, 46-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard, about having eaten the candy, sheriff's office spokeswoman Natalie Barton said.

Savannah Hardin died Monday at Children's Hospital in Birmingham, according to a news release from the sheriff's office. The sheriff's release said an autopsy report showed the girl was extremely dehydrated and had a very low sodium level. A state pathologist ruled it a homicide.

The sheriff's office received calls from concerned citizens who witnessed the girl running. No other details were released, but an official with the local volunteer fire department said rescuers thought something seemed odd when they responded to a call about the child.

"One of the ones who were down there said he didn't feel like everything was right," said Ruby Ward, vice president of the Mountainboro Volunteer Fire Department.

Gail Denny and her husband Phil, live just up a dirt road from the home. They've known the family since they moved to the area in northeastern Alabama seven years ago.

The couple said they were used to seeing Savannah and other neighborhood children out waiting on the school bus in the morning. Gail Denny said her grandson had a crush on Savannah.

"My grandson asked her to be his girlfriend on Valentine's Day, and she said 'yes,'" she said before dissolving into tears. She left a candle and stuffed animal outside the girl's home Wednesday night, saying a prayer as she paused beside the road.

The trailer where Savannah lived was surrounded by a wooden fence, playground equipment and toys. Neighbors say they never saw children playing in the yard.

They told The Associated Press that Garrard owned a lot of property along the road and much of her family lived in homes on that property.

"It seems like a very happy extended family around here," Denny said. "There are mothers, grandmothers, kids. It sounds like a punishment that got out of hand."

Garrard and Jessica Mae Hardin are being held in the Etowah County Detention Center, each on a $500,000 cash bond.

Court records show that Robert Hardin filed for divorce in August of 2010. In his complaint, he asserted his wife was bi-polar and had alcoholic tendencies. He accused her previously of having run off with the couple's own child. In her response, Jessica denied all of Robert's allegations.

Five months after filing for divorce, the two asked a judge to dismiss their case.

Savannah Hardin was a third-grader at Carlisle Elementary School. Superintendent Alan Cosby said her desk had been turned into a makeshift memorial where her classmates could leave notes and mementos. He said counselors and social workers were made available for students.

"This is obviously a very tragic, devastating, heartbreaking situation," Cosby said. "Nothing like this has ever happened before."



#2 cljohnr

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:16 AM

I'm not sure I agree with murder charges here. I don't think the intent was much different than the mom who made her kid walk to school.

#3 butterflywings

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:33 AM

Good. Hopefully the charges stick.

#4 visorboy1974

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:06 AM

Tragedy, yes. Murder, no.

#5 Battle_of_Evermore

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:41 AM

I can understand the DA going for manslaughter, I'm not sure that they intentionally killed her (making it homicide).

#6 orangecrush

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:57 AM

I don't think it is murder.



Would anyone have called the cops if they saw a sports coach making a kid run for 3 hours?

Reminds me of this case. http://articles.cnn....ury?_s=PM:CRIME

#7 butterflywings

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:32 AM

There are different levels of murder. I consider this third degree felony murder.

"a killing that resulted from a depraved heart or extreme recklessness"

#8 Tigz

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:51 AM

I don't think it is murder.



Would anyone have called the cops if they saw a sports coach making a kid run for 3 hours?

Reminds me of this case. http://articles.cnn....ury?_s=PM:CRIME


I have never seen a coach make someone run 3 hours without stopping.

They knew of her medical condition, so that does make it a homicide, although I don't think it was premeditated murder.

Either which way, a little girl is dead. I hope the step mom has her newborn taken away. (I know, that is rather Hammurbabian - sorry, but that is how I feel.)

#9 giraffy

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:55 AM

I'm not sure I agree with murder charges here. I don't think the intent was much different than the mom who made her kid walk to school.

Agree.

#10 cljohnr

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 12:26 PM

They knew of her medical condition, so that does make it a homicide, although I don't think it was premeditated murder.

What medical condition?

#11 orangecrush

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 12:44 PM


I have never seen a coach make someone run 3 hours without stopping.


They knew of her medical condition, so that does make it a homicide, although I don't think it was premeditated murder.

Either which way, a little girl is dead. I hope the step mom has her newborn taken away. (I know, that is rather Hammurbabian - sorry, but that is how I feel.)



I can't believe the you live in the south and don't know of football coaches making their players run for hours. Running laps around the fiend until they are sick. Things have not changed that much with regards to football, since I was in high school.

All kinds of crazy things are allowed to happen in the name of sports.

If a parent threw their kid and the air and missed catching them, they would be charged with child abuse. If cheerleaders do the same, it is a point deduction and nothing happens to the coaches that instructed them to do it.

#12 butterflywings

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 12:59 PM



I have never seen a coach make someone run 3 hours without stopping.


They knew of her medical condition, so that does make it a homicide, although I don't think it was premeditated murder.

Either which way, a little girl is dead. I hope the step mom has her newborn taken away. (I know, that is rather Hammurbabian - sorry, but that is how I feel.)



I can't believe the you live in the south and don't know of football coaches making their players run for hours. Running laps around the fiend until they are sick. Things have not changed that much with regards to football, since I was in high school.

All kinds of crazy things are allowed to happen in the name of sports.

If a parent threw their kid and the air and missed catching them, they would be charged with child abuse. If cheerleaders do the same, it is a point deduction and nothing happens to the coaches that instructed them to do it.



Apples. Cheerleaders have a choice to do their cheers/gymnastics. They signed up for it, signed the paperwork for it, signing away liability, and no one is putting a gun to their head to do their cheers. Where is the choice this little 9 year old girl had? She had NO choice. Besides, parents should be held to a higher standard.

#13 orangecrush

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:07 PM

Apples. Cheerleaders have a choice to do their cheers/gymnastics. They signed up for it, signed the paperwork for it, signing away liability, and no one is putting a gun to their head to do their cheers. Where is the choice this little 9 year old girl had? She had NO choice. Besides, parents should be held to a higher standard.



It is not apples. Since when can a minor sign a contract or waive their rights? They cannot. Their parents sign them up and their parents waive liability. I don't care if it a coach or a parent making a child do extreme physical activity, it is the same thing.

Parents being held to a higher standard is absolute bull. A child's safety is only important if they are with their parent? That is absurd.

Edited by orangecrush, 23 February 2012 - 01:08 PM.


#14 butterflywings

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:14 PM





Apples. Cheerleaders have a choice to do their cheers/gymnastics. They signed up for it, signed the paperwork for it, signing away liability, and no one is putting a gun to their head to do their cheers. Where is the choice this little 9 year old girl had? She had NO choice. Besides, parents should be held to a higher standard.



It is not apples. Since when can a minor sign a contract or waive their rights? They cannot. Their parents sign them up and their parents waive liability. I don't care if it a coach or a parent making a child do extreme physical activity, it is the same thing.

Parents being held to a higher standard is absolute bull. A child's safety is only important if they are with their parent? That is absurd.


Slice it and dice it any way you want; the cheerleader is there doing the cheers because she wants to be. The 9 year old girl was recklessly forced under extreme duress, and she died. Certain people are held to a legal higher standard, you may think it's bull, but it's the law nonetheless.

#15 orangecrush

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:17 PM

https://nccnews.expr...yr.edu/?p=10045

As dangerous as it may be, Henninger High School cheerleaders Kasha Torrance and Samantha Cicali have no intentions of stopping. They’re best friends, and both co-captains of the varsity squad. Sam has suffered three injuries that left her benched for weeks. Not to be outdone, Kasha dislocated her shoulder and sat silent from the sidelines for three weeks. Though terrified to stunt again once they returned, they put their fears aside for the sport they love. “You fall and get back up. That’s what we learn. If it hurts, you can take a rest, but you gotta suck it up and go again or else you’re gonna be too scared to do it.” said Sam.



Let a parent say that about taking their kid hiking a few miles or having them walk 5 miles to school and we all know what happens... People on the internets scream that they are unfit and shouldn't have kids.




http://www.drdavidge...s-cheerleading/


In 2006, Brenda Shields and Gary Smith published a study in Pediatrics that used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to estimate the number of cheerleading-related injuries treated in emergency departments across the country. The number of injuries treated rose from approximately 10,900 in 1990 to 22,900 in 2,002, which represented an increase of 110% over that time. Over that period of time, 84.8% of the injuries occurred in the 12- to 14-year age group as opposed to children in the 6- to 11-year age group. The injuries involved the lower extremities in 37.2%, the upper extremities in 26.4%, and the head/neck in 18.8%.



#16 cljohnr

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:22 PM

Slice it and dice it any way you want; the cheerleader is there doing the cheers because she wants to be. The 9 year old girl was recklessly forced under extreme duress, and she died. Certain people are held to a legal higher standard, you may think it's bull, but it's the law nonetheless.

I most certainly didn't want to be there when I was enrolled in football as a child. It took my parents a few years to accept that. They weren't being cruel, that's just what they thought young boys were supposed to do. I was in football and my sister was in cheer.

#17 orangecrush

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:23 PM

Slice it and dice it any way you want; the cheerleader is there doing the cheers because she wants to be. The 9 year old girl was recklessly forced under extreme duress, and she died. Certain people are held to a legal higher standard, you may think it's bull, but it's the law nonetheless.


How can a 9 year old decide that cheerleading is safe? They can't. A 9 year old is cheerleading, because her parents allow her to.

I'll bet you wouldn't say that a 9 year old was drinking alcohol because she wants to be. You would be screaming about the lack of parenting.



Show me a law that says parents are held to a higher standard regarding the children under their care than others? Abuse laws do not single out parents. They address anyone who has a child under their care or custody. Organized sports is one area where a blind eye is turned to abuse and danger.

#18 orangecrush

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:25 PM

I most certainly didn't want to be there when I was enrolled in football as a child. It took my parents a few years to accept that. They weren't being cruel, that's just what they thought young boys were supposed to do. I was in football and my sister was in cheer.



I get the impression that many kids are not interested in sports, but their parents think it is a good thing for them to do. Same with music and dance classes.

#19 butterflywings

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:26 PM




Slice it and dice it any way you want; the cheerleader is there doing the cheers because she wants to be. The 9 year old girl was recklessly forced under extreme duress, and she died. Certain people are held to a legal higher standard, you may think it's bull, but it's the law nonetheless.


How can a 9 year old decide that cheerleading is safe? They can't. A 9 year old is cheerleading, because her parents allow her to.

I'll bet you wouldn't say that a 9 year old was drinking alcohol because she wants to be. You would be screaming about the lack of parenting.



Show me a law that says parents are held to a higher standard regarding the children under their care than others? Abuse laws do not single out parents. They address anyone who has a child under their care or custody. Organized sports is one area where a blind eye is turned to abuse and danger.


Cheerleaders, kids being thrown in the air by parents, and now it's drinking alcohol; all red herrings. This girl was being punished in a reckless negligent manner and she died. Case closed.

#20 cljohnr

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:30 PM

Ironically, guess the punishment every kid on said little league football team was subjected to by the coach for any real or perceived problem or infraction.

#21 orangecrush

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:35 PM

Cheerleaders, kids being thrown in the air by parents, and now it's drinking alcohol; all red herrings. This girl was being punished in a reckless negligent manner and she died. Case closed.



You thought that letting a kid ride in motocross was child endangerment. Yet, cheerleading isn't? Please.


The red-herring is the punishment aspect. You seem to think it acceptable to put kids in dangerous situations (if you approve of the sport) if the kids are okay with or if it is for fun.

#22 orangecrush

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:36 PM

Ironically, guess the punishment every kid on said little league football team was subjected to by the coach for any real or perceived problem or infraction.



That wasn't punishment. That was fun and the kids signed up for it and wanted to be there...

#23 sirrowan

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:40 PM



I have never seen a coach make someone run 3 hours without stopping.


They knew of her medical condition, so that does make it a homicide, although I don't think it was premeditated murder.

Either which way, a little girl is dead. I hope the step mom has her newborn taken away. (I know, that is rather Hammurbabian - sorry, but that is how I feel.)



I can't believe the you live in the south and don't know of football coaches making their players run for hours. Running laps around the fiend until they are sick. Things have not changed that much with regards to football, since I was in high school.

All kinds of crazy things are allowed to happen in the name of sports.

If a parent threw their kid and the air and missed catching them, they would be charged with child abuse. If cheerleaders do the same, it is a point deduction and nothing happens to the coaches that instructed them to do it.

Actually its a 3 point deduction. Very serious. :grin:

#24 sirrowan

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:44 PM



Cheerleaders, kids being thrown in the air by parents, and now it's drinking alcohol; all red herrings. This girl was being punished in a reckless negligent manner and she died. Case closed.



You thought that letting a kid ride in motocross was child endangerment. Yet, cheerleading isn't? Please.


The red-herring is the punishment aspect. You seem to think it acceptable to put kids in dangerous situations (if you approve of the sport) if the kids are okay with or if it is for fun.

These chicks need a good attorney OC. Perhaps you can help them?????

#25 orangecrush

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:47 PM

Actually its a 3 point deduction. Very serious. :grin:


:lol:


I have noticed that some mothers take their cheerleading very seriously. Some of them are worse than the crazy child pageant mothers.




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