The fate of Sammantha Allen, who left her 10-year-old cousin to die in a padlocked box, is now in the hands of a jury to decide whether she will be placed on death row or spend the rest of her life in an Arizona prison.
The jury was sent to deliberate her sentence Tuesday afternoon at the conclusion of her death penalty hearing, which lasted nearly three weeks in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Her defense attorney, during his closing argument Monday, tried to convince jurors that Allen didn’t intend to murder 10-year-old Ame Deal, while a state prosecutor argued it was her choice.
Allen, 29, was convicted of first-degree murder in June for her role in the 2011 killing. Prosecutors said Allen had told her husband, John, to lock Ame in a 31-inch-long box around bedtime as punishment for her behavior.
Ame was locked in the box for at least six hours overnight. There, she suffocated and was found dead the next morning.
Defense: Killing Ame ‘was not her plan’
Defense attorney Jeremy Bogart said Allen forgot to let Ame out of the box.
“They (Allen and her husband) fell asleep and then woke up into a nightmare,” Bogart said.
The defense has listed mitigating factors that could have influenced Allen’s actions, in an effort to persuade jurors to impose a life sentence instead of the death penalty.
A decision for the death penalty would have to be unanimous among the 12 jurors.
Borgart argued that Allen’s abuse of Ame was a family cycle that included Allen’s grandmother, Judith Deal, and Allen’s mother, Cynthia Stoltzmann.
He said Allen had transferred to…
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