Sammantha Allen sentenced to death for locking girl in box

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A clearly distraught Sammantha Allen talks with her attorney after being sentenced to death on Monday. (Source: Pool) A clearly distraught Sammantha Allen talks with her attorney after being sentenced to death on Monday. (Source: Pool)
Sammantha Lucille Rebecca Allen. left, was convicted of killing her little cousin, Ame Deal, in 2011. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photo) Sammantha Lucille Rebecca Allen. left, was convicted of killing her little cousin, Ame Deal, in 2011. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photo)
Sammantha Allen cried in court when the sentencing verdict was read on Monday. (Source: Pool) Sammantha Allen cried in court when the sentencing verdict was read on Monday. (Source: Pool)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Sammantha Allen has been sentenced to death for her part in the death of her 10-year-old cousin Ame Deal.

Allen and her husband, John Allen, locked Deal in a plastic storage box and left it outside their home overnight as punishment for taking ice pops in July 2011.

[RAW VIDEO: Sentencing verdict in killing of 10-year-old girl]

Officials said the girl suffocated inside the box and was found dead the next day as temperatures outside the south Phoenix home rose to at least 100 degrees.

The Allens both originally claimed that Deal hid in the box while playing a game of hide-and-seek and suffocated accidentally. They both later confessed to placing and padlocking Deal in the box on July 12, 2011. 

Allen was found guilty of first-degree murder in Deal's death on June 26.

Allen was eligible for the death penalty because the jury found "aggravating factors" to the case, according to Vincent Funari, public information officer for the Superior Court of Arizona.

Allen kept her head down and appeared to shake, possibly crying, as her sentence was read.

Tears the jury say they saw too little too late.

"Lack of remorse was the biggest thing that played into it for us, that we didn’t see that from Sammantha throughout the whole process," said Juror Anne Schaad.

Throughout the trial, the jury says seeing evidence photos of the victim was the hardest.

"The years of abuse that she suffered and it was probably happenstance that this result didn't occur before it did," said Juror Ann Opseth.

After five days spent deliberating, the jury decided Allen should be sentenced to death for her role in the child's death.

"It definitely wasn't easy, that's for sure," said Juror Chuck Pritchett   

They say they 'kept open minds' but when looking for reasons not to choose the death penalty, they say they had a hard time coming up with any.

"No one knew this was happening to Ame until she died. And I feel that there are possibly a lot more children out there that are not having a good home life that we don't know about. And that's one of the biggest things I took away from this,” said Schaad.

Allen will immediately be taken to the Perryville prison and join only two other women in the state on death row. She'll be kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

Deal was the victim of child abuse at the hands of multiple people in her family. Her aunt, Cynthia Stoltzmann and her grandmother, Judith Deal, both admitted to previously locking her in the box as punishment.

Stoltzman was convicted of attempted child abuse and sentenced to 25 years in prison. David Deal, the girl's father, also pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse was sentenced to jail.

Sammantha Allen's husband, John Allen will be tried next, later this fall. 

[SPECIAL SECTION: Child locked in box trial]

[RELATED: Phoenix woman convicted in cousin's death eligible for death penalty]

[READ MORE: Phoenix woman found guilty in death of girl locked in box]

[RELATED: 'Hide-and-seek' death ruled a homicide; 4 arrested (July 2011)]

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