Decision delayed on new charges in girl's death

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) - Authorities are delaying a decision on whether to file new charges against a stepmother accused in the death of a 9-year-old girl who prosecutors say was run to death.

Etowah County prosecutors said Tuesday no decision will be made this week on whether to pursue capital charges against 27-year-old Jessica Mae Hardin of Attalla.

Hardin already is charged with murder in the death last month of 9-year-old Savannah Hardin. The additional charge could carry a possible death penalty if she's convicted.

Authorities say Hardin didn't intervene as her mother-in-law, Joyce Hardin Garrard, punished the girl by making her run for three hours as punishment for lying. The child later died.

Attorneys for both women deny that they did anything intentional to harm Savannah, and they predict both will be acquitted.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.