A 29-year-old woman in Arizona has been sentenced to die for her role in the horrific death of her 10-year-old cousin. Prosecutors said Sammantha Allen and husband John Allen stuffed Ame Deal into a plastic storage bin and left her there overnight in triple-digit temperatures in July 2011 as punishment for taking a Popsicle without permission, the New York Daily News reports. The couple fell asleep after padlocking the box shut, prosecutors said. The girl, who had already been forced to run and do other exercises in the heat for hours, was dead when they unlocked the box the next day. The husband has also been charged with child abuse and murder and will go on trial this fall.
According to court records, Deal had been put in the 31-inch footlocker as punishment on previous occasions. Other punishments included being forced to eat dog feces. Three other family members, including Cynthia Stoltzmann, who is Allen's mother and was Deal's legal guardian, are already serving time for their role in the abuse of the girl. Allen, who was sentenced to an additional 76 years on other child-abuse charges, wept when she learned her fate, the Arizona Republic reports. She is now the third woman on death row in Arizona and the 55th nationwide, though the state hasn't executed a woman since Eva Dugan in 1930 and hasn't executed anybody in more than three years. (Read more child abuse stories.)