Prosecutors to seek death penalty against couple in child's murder

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John and Samantha Allen By Catherine Holland John and Samantha Allen By Catherine Holland
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX (AP) -- Authorities intend to seek the death penalty against a married couple charged in the death of a 10-year-old Phoenix girl who suffocated while being locked inside a plastic storage container.

Prosecutors say Monday that they'll seek the death penalty against John and Samantha Allen in the July 12 death of Ame Deal.

Samantha Allen was the girl's aunt.

The Allens have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and child abuse charges.

Family members had told police that Deal and other children in her extended family had been playing hide and seek, and they believed that Ame must have climbed into the box to hide and accidentally suffocated. 

But detectives said they determined that the child had been placed in the box as punishment for taking a Popsicle from a refrigerator.