National News

Allen murder trial day two: Jurors shown box 10-year-old was allegedly locked in

Posted June 14

— It was day two of the trial against a Valley woman accused of murdering her 10-year-old cousin.

Sammantha Allen is facing first-degree murder charges in the 2011 death of Ame Deal.

Tuesday in court, jurors saw the first evidence of what went on inside the family's home: photos of cluttered bedrooms and the container allegedly used to kill the child.

Prosecutors say six years ago, Allen padlocked Ame in the storage box as punishment for eating a popsicle.

Then they say Allen and her husband fell asleep without letting Ame out. Ame suffocated and was found dead the next morning.

Responding detectives testified in court that they recorded the temperature inside that box after they found the lifeless girl and it was about 93 degrees.

Then prosecuting attorneys brought in an identical box to show the jury.

"When the lid is shut and latched, other than those holes, a very limited amount, except perhaps the hinges, and even that is quite closed, it would create a very semi-airtight container," said Reserve Det. Kenny Porter, now retired from the Phoenix Police Dept.

Allen, who turns 29 on Wednesday, is facing the death penalty if found guilty.

She maintains her innocence and originally claimed Ame died after tucking herself in the box in a game of hide and seek, as documented on police audio recordings.

"Ame has a tendency to fall asleep wherever she's hiding. She's done it several times," Allen told a police detective the day Ame died.

"How did you find out that Ame was in the toy box?" the detective asked.

"My 3-year-old found her," said Allen.

Three other family members have already been convicted for abusing Ame and sentenced to prison. Next, Allen's husband, John Allen, will be tried in August. He, too, is facing a murder charge.


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