Debate Ala girl's death plays out on Facebook

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) -- An Alabama judge has stopped lawyers from publicly discussing the murder charges against a grandmother and stepmother accused of making a 9-year-old girlrun to death as punishment for a lie, but a debate over the case is still raging on Facebook.

On pages dedicated to either supporting the women or perpetuating the memory of blond-haired Savannah Hardin, visitors have posted hundreds of messages since the child died in February. The posters include apparent relatives and friends of the jailed women

Most of the posts are innocuous, but some border on revealing evidence. While the judge has reminded lawyers in the case about rules governing pretrial publicity, there's no indication in court files he know about the Facebook posts.

Experts say the pages show the legal system has yet to catch up with the social media explosion, which is inching its way into courtrooms as well as living rooms.

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