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Phoenix woman given death sentence for fatally locking young girl in box

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix woman was sentenced to death Monday weeks after she was convicted of locking a 10-year-old girl inside of a box as punishment where she later died.

Sammantha Allen was found guilty of helping her husband lock Ame Deal in a box that was left outside overnight as punishment in July 2011. Maricopa County Deputy County Attorney Jeannette Gallagher told jurors the bin only had small holes near the handles for air.

Allen’s attorney argued the form of punishment was commonplace in the household and was done at the request of Deal’s aunt, Cynthia Stoltzmann, her legal guardian.

The defense argued that Sammantha Allen was almost certainly guilty of child abuse but not murder.

Authorities said Deal’s death came after a long history of abuse at the hands of multiple relatives. Deal lived with at least 10 adults and children in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in south Phoenix.

In opening statements, both sides referred to a question about whether Sammantha Allen told her husband to let Deal out of the bin before she fell asleep.

John Michael Allen is scheduled to be tried Oct. 9 on child abuse and murder charges. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Three other relatives were convicted of abusing Deal and are currently in prison.

David Deal, the girl’s father, previously pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse and was sentenced to jail. Stoltzmann was sentenced to 25 years in prison for attempted child abuse.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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