Penalty phase underway for man convicted of 10-year-old girl's murder

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The penalty phase of trial is now underway for the man convicted of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of a 10-year-old relative.

On Wednesday, jurors found 29-year-old John Michael Allen guilty of first-degree murder and child abuse in the killing of Ame Deal. 

Allen's 28-year-old wife Sammantha Allen is Deal's cousin, and was convicted of murder in the girl's death in June. She now is on Arizona's death row.

Authorities say the couple forced Ame into the small, plastic box as punishment for stealing ice pops. They then went to sleep. 

[SPECIAL SECTION: Child locked in box trial]

The girl was found dead the next morning.

Allen asked for leniency during his sentencing Thursday.

Jurors have been asked to decide in little Ame's death was "especially cruel, heinous or depraved."

Allen could face the 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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