PHOENIX - Jurors in the Ame Deal murder case heard from a relative of the 10-year-old girl who admitted she lied about finding Deal's body in order to protect the rest of her family.
The relative is underage and 12 News is only referring to her as CJ.
CJ testified Tuesday she lied to police about finding Deal's body in the box that morning in July, 2011 because she thought it would get her home faster.
Prosecutors say Deal's cousin, Samantha Allen and her husband, John Allen, locked Deal in the box overnight as punishment for taking a popsicle. Ame Deal died of suffocation and heat. Allen is on trial for first-degree murder and child abuse. John Allen's murder trial is scheduled for August.
Originally, the Allens told police Deal had been playing hide and seek and must have fallen asleep.
"I was trying to protect my family," CJ said.
CJ testified Deal was forced to do "backbends" for hours. She testified the girl was crying that the "backbends" hurt.
CJ said the next time she saw Ame, the girl was dead on the floor.
"All I saw were purple lips," she said.
Investigators testified about the filthy conditions inside the house. Prosecutors showed photos of the house, covered with trash and debris.
Other photos showed Deal's body, laying on the floor next to the box, covered in sweat, her hands curled at her chest.
At least one juror was openly crying when the photos were displayed. Tuesday morning a juror had asked if it was permissible to show emotion in the jury box. The judge in the case said it was, but that jurors should not allow their decision to be based on emotion.
Prosecutors also displayed the actual box Ame was locked in, as well as a duplicate box to examine more closely. Prosecutors explained Ame was 52 inches tall, and the box was only 32 inches long.
Detective Kenny Porter showed the jury the only air holes in the box, which were pencil thin and located near the ends of the box.
"It would create a very semi-airtight container," Porter told the jury.
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