Penalty phase in Sammantha Allen's trial continues
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The penalty phase of Sammantha Allen's trial continued on Tuesday, as Allen's fate is in the hands of the jury, who is deciding where she should be sent to Death Row for killing her 10-year-old cousin Ame Deal.
Allen was already found guilty of First Degree Murder, and the jury has also found aggravating factors qualifying her for the death penalty. Now, the jury must decide of Allen should be put to death. If the jurors do not decide unanimously for death, Allen will receive life in prison.
While Allen looked on impassively in court, her attorney tried to convince jurors to spare her life, and called a social worker from the state of Utah who had investigated living conditions for Allen, Deal and the rest of the family while they lived near Salt Lake City, prior to their move to Phoenix.
The social worker testified there was a culture of cruelty and abuse in the family, and Deal was the victim.
"She talked about her coming to school dirty and smelly, feces on her shoes in and out, and that she came to school with a bruise on her face," said Collette Tasker.
Allen's mother, Cynthia Stoltzman, also took the stand Tuesday, and tried to paint the picture of a broken home, as well as an angry father, as reasons for her daughter's behavior.
Prosecutors, however, made the argument during on cross-examination that although Allen was spanked, the fault for Deal's death still rests squarely with Allen. During the afternoon, Allen's former husband was called to the stand by defense attorneys, and said he thought the family might have been a cult.
The trial continues on Wednesday.