Jurors sentenced an Arizona woman to death Monday for locking her 10-year-old cousin in a storage box, where the little girl suffocated.
Twenty-nine-year-old Phoenix woman Sammantha Allen was convicted in June of killing Ame Deal, who died in the summer of 2011 after being locked in a 31-by 14-by 12-inch footlocker overnight during triple digit temperatures.
Allen was punishing Deal for stealing a frozen popsicle from the refrigerator.
— azfamily 3TV CBS 5 (@azfamily) August 7, 2017
By the time someone went to let her out the next day, Deal was dead.
“Before Ame was locked in, however, police believe she was forced to spend two hours doing backbends and was forced by John Allen to maintain the torturous position, court records say. She also was forced to run in the yard despite the summer heat, records say,” AZ Central reported.
Then sweating profusely, she was locked in the footlocker, which had just two small holes near the handle.
— 12 News (@12News) June 27, 2017
Police said the girl’s clothes were soiled and there were marks on her right knee from “forceful contact” with the box’s lid, the Daily Mail reported.
“There never was intention on killing her,” Allen told police.
The woman said she thought her husband, John Allen, was going to release Deal.
This punishment had been used before by family members on Deal.
John Allen has also been charged with first-degree murder and child abuse. His trial is slated to begin on October 9.
Deal experienced child abuse throughout her short life.
Sammantha Allen’s mother, Cynthia Stoltzmann — who was Deal’s legal guardian — is serving a 24-year sentence for child abuse.
Deal’s grandmother, Judith Deal, is serving a 10-year-sentence for attempted child abuse.
The child’s father, David Deal, 29, who lived in the home, pleaded guilty to child abuse and is currently serving a 14-year-prison sentence.
Among other abusive acts, family members made Ame exercise in the heat, put hot sauce in her mouth, forced her to fall sleep in a shower stall, and had her eat dog feces when she failed to pick them up.
Shirley Deal, Ame’s mother, told AZfamily 2011 that she had hoped for years to see her daughter again.
“I’m not going to be done with it until something is done,” Deal said regarding Ame’s death. “They better stay in jail, they better be in prison for life. You’re messing with a baby, she was not a baby, but she was my baby.” (For more from the author of “Arizona Woman Sentenced to Death for Locking Little Girl in a Box” please click HERE)