Father sentenced to 14 years for abuse in footlocker death
David Deal was sentenced to an aggravated sentence of 14 years for abusing his daughter, Ame, who was found dead in a footlocker in July 2011.
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
David Deal, the father of a 10-year-old girl who was found dead in a padlocked footlocker in the scorching desert heat two years ago, was sentenced to 14 years in prison Thursday morning.
Judge Susanna Pineda sentenced Deal, 53, to the aggravated prison term after he pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse, and another three years of probation for possession of marijuana.
Deal was arrested in July 2012 as he was driving away from his residence in a loaded U-Haul.
Ame Deal suffocated to death in July 2011 after being padlocked inside the small footlocker as punishment for taking a Popsicle without permission.
In all, six people of her so-called "family" were arrested in connection with the girl's death.
An aunt, 45-year-old Cynthia Stoltzmann, was also scheduled for sentencing on Thursday.
A judge on Tuesday continued the sentencing for 62-year-old Judith Deal, Ame's grandmother, until July 26.
Phoenix police said David Deal was allegedly the first family member to have confined his daughter for punishment.
He told investigators she was a "Pillsbury Doughboy-looking thing" and claimed her mental problems frustrated others. He denied being Ame's father.
Judith Deal wasn't charged in Ame's death, but was accused of putting hot sauce on the child's mouth, hitting her with a paddle and putting her inside the plastic footlocker as a form of discipline.
She pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted child abuse and faces a punishment ranging from probation to 30 years in prison.
Stoltzmann, 45, who was also a legal guardian, pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse and one count of attempted child abuse and two other abuse charges.
Stoltzmann was accused of throwing Ame into a cold swimming pool several months before the girl's death and forcing her head underwater.
Stoltzmann was also accused of once sitting on a footlocker while the girl was inside as punishment for stealing food at the family home.
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office said it would seek the death penalty for the two other people charged with murdering Ame.
Prosecutors say her cousins, John "Bud" Allen and Samantha Allen, who were living at the family home, locked Ame inside the storage box. Both of them pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit child abuse and multiple counts of child abuse.
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