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Trial delayed in death of girl in padlocked box

Ame Deal, 10, was found dead in a padlocked plastic storage box. (Handout)

PHOENIX — The start of the trial of a Phoenix woman charged with murder in the 2011 death of her 10-year-old cousin who was found dead inside a padlocked plastic storage box has been delayed.

Investigators say Ame Deal was put in the box as punishment for having stolen an ice pop.

Sammantha Lucille Rebecca Allen faces murder and child abuse charges. Her trial was scheduled to begin Monday, but officials say it’s now expected to begin later this week.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Allen and her husband, John Michael Allen, whose trial is scheduled for Aug. 7.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

Investigators say Sammantha Allen and her husband made the girl get into the box the night before and fell asleep without letting her out.