Arizona man found guilty of murder after locking 10-year-old girl in box

PHOENIX Nov 8 (Reuters) - An Arizona man was found guilty on Wednesday of murder and other charges in the death of a 10-year-old girl who was locked in a small bin for taking a Popsicle without permission, a court official said.

The verdict by the Maricopa County jury allows the trial of John Allen, 29, to move to the penalty phase, in which the panel will determine if he should face the death penalty, court spokesman Vincent Funari said in a statement. That phase begins on Thursday and could take weeks, he said.

Sammantha Allen, John Allen's wife, was sentenced to death in August after she was also convicted of murder in the 2011 death of 10-year-old Ame Deal, who was her cousin.

SEE ALSO: ‘Disturbing’ undercover probe found TSA screeners missing many test weapons

Police said the child, who was left in the Allens' care, was forced to exercise intensely for hours in the summer heat as punishment for taking the frozen treat.

The couple then ordered her to get a hinged, plastic container and climb into it, police have said. Sammantha Allen watched as her husband padlocked the girl in the box and the couple then fell asleep, police said.

The dead girl's body was found inside the small container, which only had tiny air holes at its handles.

The jury found John Allen guilty of first-degree murder, three counts of child abuse and conspiracy to commit child abuse, officials said.

Family members initially told police Deal died in a hide-and-seek game that turned tragic. Police unraveled that story during their investigation.

In John Allen's trial, jurors watched a video of him confessing to locking the girl in the box and going to sleep.

RELATED: The most violent states by homicide ranking

51 PHOTOS
The most violent states by homicide ranking
See Gallery
The most violent states by homicide ranking

Hawaii: no data

(Photo via Getty Images)

1. Least homicidal - New Hampshire

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.23
2015: 0.96

(Photo via Getty Images)

2. Rhode Island

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.24
2015: 0.99

(Photo via Shutterstock)

3. Maine

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: no data
2015: 1.14

(Photo via Getty Images)

4. Massachusetts

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.18
2015: 1.26

(Photo via Getty Images)

5. Utah

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.64
2015: 1.29

(Photo via Getty Images)

6. Idaho

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.14
2015: 1.29

(Photo via Getty Images)

7. Iowa

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.44
2015: 1.62

(Photo via Getty Images)

8. North Dakota

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: no data
2015: 1.69

(Photo via Getty Images)

9. Vermont

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.35
2015: 1.76

(Photo via Getty Images)

10. Minnesota

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.45
2015: 1.77

(Photo via Getty Images)

11. South Dakota

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: no data
2015: 1.97

(Photo via Getty Images)

12. New York

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 9.57
2015: 2.07

(Photo via Getty Images)

13. Wyoming

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.27
2015: 2.16

(Photo via Getty Images)

14. Montana

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.52
2015: 2.17

(Photo via Getty Images)

15. Washington

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.39
2015: 2.32

(Photo via Getty Images)

16. Oregon

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.96
2015: 2.35

(Photo via Getty Images)

17. Connecticut

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 3.63
2015: 2.43

(Photo via Getty Images)

18. Colorado

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.94
2015: 2.46

(Photo via Getty Images)

19. Nebraska

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.93
2015: 2.67

(Photo via Getty Images)

20. West Virginia

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 4.62
2015: 2.89

(Photo via Getty Images)

21. Wisconsin

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.75
2015: 3.18

(Photo via Getty Images)

22. New Jersey

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.84
2015: 3.22

(Photo via Getty Images)

23. Virginia

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 5.54
2015: 3.29

(Photo via Getty Images)

24. Kansas

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 3.81
2015: 3.35

(Photo via Getty Images)

25. California

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 8.74
2015: 3.52

(Photo via Getty Images)

49. Louisiana

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 13.49
2015: 9.96

(Photo via Getty Images)

26. Arizona

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 5.57
2015: 3.56

(Photo via Getty Images)

27. Kentucky

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 4.59
2015: 3.96

(Photo via Getty Images)

28. Texas

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 10.43
2015: 4.04

(Photo via Getty Images)

29. Pennsylvania

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 3.88
2015: 4.34

(Photo via Getty Images)

30. Ohio

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 3.89
2015: 4.38

(Photo via Getty Images)

31. Nevada

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.15
2015: 4.49

(Photo via Getty Images)

32. North Carolina

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 8.25
2015: 4.54

(Photo via Getty Images)

33. Indiana

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 4.16
2015: 4.61

(Photo via Getty Images)

34. Florida

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.35
2015: 4.66

(Photo via Getty Images)

35. Michigan

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.95
2015: 4.74

(Photo via Getty Images)

36. New Mexico

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 5.34
2015: 4.79

(Photo via Getty Images)

37. Alaska

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.84
2015: 5.22

(Photo via Getty Images)

38. Arkansas

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 8.48
2015: 5.34

(Photo via Getty Images)

39. Illinois

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.91
2015: 5.45

(Photo via Getty Images)

40. Tennessee

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.69
2015: 5.71

(Photo via Getty Images)

41. Georgia

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 9.01
2015: 5.73

(Photo via Getty Images)

42. Oklahoma

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 4.90
2015: 5.87

(Photo via Getty Images)

43. Delaware

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.15
2015: 6.12

(Photo via Getty Images)

44. South Carolina

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.34
2015: 7.55

(Photo via Getty Images)

45. Maryland

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 8.07
2015: 7.69

(Photo via Getty Images)

46. Alabama

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 9.90
2015: 8.43

(Photo via Getty Images)

47. Missouri

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.54
2015: 7.92

(Photo via Getty Images)

48. Mississippi

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 10.33
2015: 9.11

(Photo via Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Arizona has not executed an inmate in three years. The state's last execution took nearly two hours, and resulted in a lawsuit by several inmates who claimed the state's lethal injection protocol caused prolonged suffering.

John Allen's attorney argued that his client took full responsibility and did not intend for the girl to die.

Maricopa county prosecutors and Allen' attorney, Gary Beren, could not be reached for comment late on Wednesday. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and David Schwartz in Phoenix; Editing by Paul Tait)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.