Penalty phase starts over in death of girl padlocked in box

Jurors are now deciding on the fate of a woman convicted of locking her 10-year-old cousin in a foot locker, which led to the young girl's death.

Sammantha Lucille Rebecca Allen was convicted of first degree murder, in the 2011 death of Ame Deal. Authorities said Allen and her husband are responsible for making Deal get into the box the night before as punishment for having stolen an ice pop and had fallen asleep without letting her out. Allen's attorneys told jurors she spent her life in nightmarish poverty, with a family of abusers, and hopscotched around the country, and asked for mercy.

"She is the way she is because of the way she was raised by her mother and grandmother," said defense attorney John Curry.

Prosecutors, however, have a very different view of the case, as well as a different view of the events.

"While some people may think this is a terrible horrible childhood that is not how the defendant perceived it," said Prosecutor Jeanette Gallagher. They argue that Allen was not suffering from abuse when she locked Deal in the foot locker, and then casually went to bed. Prosecutors also argued that what Allen did was "pure evil", and that she should pay for it with her life.

Allen's husband, John Michael Allen, is scheduled to be tried Oct. 9 on child abuse and murder charges. He has pleaded not guilty. As for Allen herself, proceedings will start again Tuesday morning.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.