The first of three family members who pleaded guilty to horrific abuses of 10-year-old Ame Deal -- who was murdered in 2011 -- has learned his fate.
Ame's father, David Deal, was sentenced this morning to 14 years in prison as part of a plea agreement, and will spend time on probation after that for a marijuana-possession charge.
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Ame's alleged killers are scheduled to go to trial later this year, as Samantha Allen, Ame's cousin, and Allen's husband, John, are accused of locking Ame in a footlocker in July 2011, as punishment for taking a popsicle.
Police records showed this was a somewhat common method in which family members punished Ame, although she died in the footlocker that night at her Phoenix home off 37th Avenue, a few blocks south of Broadway Road.
Once Ame died, police discovered that she had been abused for the entirety of her short life.
For example, Phoenix police said David Deal used to lock Ame in a dog kennel, and also locked her in the same footlocker. Once, Deal locked her in the trunk and tossed it into a pool because Ame "kept crying and yelling she could not breathe during the confinement," police said.
Deal denied to police that he'd abused his daughter, but police said Deal described his own daughter as a "Pillsbury Doughboy looking thing and said her mental problems frustrated others."
According to court documents previously obtained by New Times, the abuse of Ame among the family members included frequently being locked in the footlocker, being forced to eat dog feces, getting beaten with a wooden paddle, being forced to sleep in a shower stall with no pillow or blankets, and having hot sauce shoved in her mouth, among other things.
According to a court spokesman, Deal declined to speak to the court during his sentencing today.
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Judith Deal, Ame's grandmother, and Ame's aunt, Cynthia Stoltzmann, have also pleaded guilty to charges related to abusing Ame. They're scheduled to be sentenced later this month.
Another family member, Ammandea Stoltzmann, had also been arrested on a child-abuse charge, but the Maricopa County Attorney's Office said there wasn't enough evidence to go forward with the child-abuse case, even though she admitted to some degree of abuse, according to a police probable-cause statement. A Maricopa County Attorney's Office spokesman has refused to elaborate on the reasoning behind the charges being dropped.
Cynthia Stoltzmann's due in court on July 24, and Judith Deal is due on July 26.