The woman who locked her 10-year-old cousin in a plastic box where she died has been given the death penalty. After being convicted of first degree murder for being one of two people that locked Ame Deal in a box, Sammantha Allen was convicted of first degree murder and four counts of child abuse.
A member of the jury explained why they chose the death penalty over life in prison. “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 jury member Anne Schaad to ABC affiliate WCVB 5.
Ame Deal died after being locked in a plastic storage box overnight. She was in the box as punishment for stealing a frozen treat from the freezer. Sammantha Allen and her husband John used the box as punishment. The 10-year-old child was found dead the next morning, folded with her knees up inside the box.
As an Epoch Times report reveals, Ame was systematically singled out and picked on by the family. She was already known to the state of Utah as an abused child, before the family moved to Arizona. Three relatives that lived in the household are already serving sentences on child abuse charges related to the way Deal was treated.
Schaad told WCVB 5 of the bigger picture the trial gave her. “Nobody knew this was happening to Ame until she died. I feel that there is 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 that I took away from this,” said Schaad.
The night Ame died wasn’t the first time she was put inside the box as punishment. It was also only one form of the cruel punishment that family members used on her. On other occasions she was forced to ingest hot sauce, eat feces, and walk barefoot on crushed metal cans. On other occasions she was kicked in the face, beaten with a paddle, and dunked after being thrown in a cold swimming pool, according to WCVB.
According to ABC News, Allen’s mother and Ame Deal’s legal guardian, Cynthia Stoltzmann, was given a 24-year sentence for child abuse. John Allen is scheduled to go on trial Oct. 9 for his role in the murder. He faces the same charges as his wife. He has entered a not guilty plea.