Jurors: Sammantha Allen lacked remorse

Jurors speak out about Ame Deal's murder trial and what didn't persuade their decision in Samantha Allen's sentencing.

PHOENIX - Sammantha Allen dropped her head and burst into tears moments after jurors announced their verdict in the penalty phase of the woman's trial: death.

"She didn't care what happened to this child," said Amanda Keagh, a juror in the trial. "It was all about what was going to happen to her."

This marks the end of one more chapter in the horrific 2011 murder of 10-year-old Ame Deal, whose lifeless body was found locked inside a plastic footlocker left out in the blazing Arizona heat. Police said the girl was forced into the box as punishment for stealing a popsicle.

RELATED: Sammantha Allen sentenced to death in murder of Ame Deal

Allen, along with her husband John, were charged in the girl's murder.

The woman was convicted of first-degree murder on June 26 and arguments over whether she would be sentenced to death lasted several weeks. 

Jurors outside the courtroom said they maintained an open mind throughout the penalty phase of the trial, but ultimately pointed to Allen's demeanor inside the courtroom as a major factor in their decision.

"So i think that was a pivotal moment for me," Keagh said. "I was waiting for something from her. That was her chance to plead for her life and it just fell short."

The defense team argued Allen's actions were a result of a dysfunctional childhood and family life that was heavily influenced by Allen's mother and grandmother. Her attorney argued the control continued into Allen's adulthood including how she treated Ame.

ALSO: Arizona's women of death row

"We just felt at some point she was not as passive of a person as we previously thought," said Chuck Pritchett, another juror. 

Allen is the 120th inmate on death row and will join two other women.

The jurors said the entire process was difficult, explaining some of the details and testimony will stay with them forever.

"The hardest thing for all of us was the victim (Ame) and learning about what her life really entailed," said Ann Opseth, a juror. "The years of abuse that she suffered."

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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