HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Jessica Hardin is set to appear in court for a hearing Thursday in Etowah County. She's accused of running her stepdaughter, nine-year-old Savannah Hardin to death as punishment.
Both Hardin and Savannah's grandmother Joyce Garrard are charged with her murder after Savannah died in the hospital from dehydration.
A woman who asked to keep her identity concealed said she watched and listened to what family members were saying and doing inside the hospital.
She said she was in the ICU at Children's Hospital in Birmingham with her child. She said she was sitting across from Savannah Hardin's bed. She says she watched Savannah's grandmother Joyce Garrard and mother Jessica Hardin in the hospital. Their emotions, or lack there-of caught her attention.
"They went in and went out. They didn't come back there and sit for hours with the child when they could. If that were had that been my child I would have been with her every moment," she said.
She didn't know at the time that both Garrard and Hardin would later be charged with Savannah's murder. She said the grandmother's story given at the hospital left out the part about making the nine-year-old run as punishment for eating candy.
"She said they were picking up sticks around the house and she just had a seizure and fell over. No remorse. I never saw her cry, get upset, or shed a tear."
The woman say Savannah's stepmother, Jessica Hardin, didn't stay in the room long.
"Nobody was with her. She was just lying over there by herself. They all wanted to go out and smoke a cigarette, that's what they did more than anything."
Attorneys for both Jessica Harden and Joyce Garrard released statements after Savannah's death.
Danny V. Bone, the attorney for Garrard:
"Joyce Garrard, like the rest of the family, is grieving the loss of their precious Savannah. Ms. Garrard, has been falsely accused of causing Savannah's death."
Attorneys for Jessica Hardin, Morgan Cunningham and Vincent Pentecost, released this statement:
"At this time Jessica Hardin is incredibly devastated over Savannah's death. Unfortunately whenever a child passes away our society wants to place blame."