Jury’s de­ci­sion moves a Phoenix man closer to death penalty

Yuma Sun - - NEWS -

PHOENIX — Ju­rors have found ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tors that could make a Phoenix man el­i­gi­ble for the death penalty in the 2011 mur­der of a 10-year-old girl.

The Mari­copa County Su­pe­rior Court jury de­ter­mined that the killing of Ame Deal was es­pe­cially cruel or heinous since the girl was locked in a small stor­age box in swel­ter­ing sum­mer heat.

Clos­ing ar­gu­ments in the penalty phase of John Allen’s trial are sched­uled to be­gin Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

The 29-year-old Allen was con­victed of first-de­gree mur­der and child abuse last week.

Allen’s 28-year-old wife Sam­man­tha Allen was a cousin of Deal’s. She was con­victed of mur­der in the girl’s death in June.

Au­thor­i­ties say the cou­ple forced Ame into the plas­tic box as pun­ish­ment for steal­ing ice pops.

The girl was found dead the next morn­ing.

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