A jury has found Sammantha Allen guilty of murder and child abuse in conjunction with the death of 10-year-old Ame Deal, who was found dead after she was locked in a plastic storage box overnight as punishment for stealing a popsicle.
As Phoenix New Times has previously detailed, Deal's short life involved horrifying abuse. Court documents say that she was forced to hold uncomfortable positions for hours at a time, forced to eat hot sauce and dog feces, and hit with a wooden paddle that was printed with the words "Butt Buster."
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Prosecutors initially sought to charge Allen with first-degree murder as well as a dozen counts of child abuse and one of conspiracy to commit child abuse. A jury in Maricopa County Superior Court found her guilty of the murder and conspiracy charges, as well as three counts of child abuse.
Her husband, John "Bud" Allen, is expected to face trial for the same charges in August.
Three other relatives — Deal's grandmother, father, and aunt — are already serving lengthy sentences for child abuse.