The alleged killers of 10-year-old Ame Deal are the last to face charges in the 2011 case, as three family members now have pleaded guilty to abuse charges and charges were dropped against another.
First-degree murder charges are still pending against Samantha Allen, Ame's cousin, and Allen's husband, John.
-Ame's Dad Is Second Family Member to Plead Guilty to Abuse
-Aunt Pleads Guilty to Abuse
-"Hide-and-Seek" Suffocation Death of 10-Year-Old Ame Deal Ruled Homicide
-Police: Abuse of Ame Deal "Makes You Sick to Your Stomach"
-Ame Deal's Killers Indicted for First-Degree Murder
According to court records, Judith Deal, Ame's grandmother pleaded guilty to abuse charges as part of a plea agreement on Friday.
Judith Deal, as well as Ame's father, David Deal, and Ame's aunt Cynthia Stoltzmann haven't been sentenced, but each has pleaded guilty to various instances of abuse of Ame, who died at age 10 after a lifetime of abuse. Her death was the result of her being locked in a small footlocker by family members as punishment for taking a popsicle without asking, according to police.
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office said there wasn't enough evidence to go forward with the child-abuse case against Ammandea Stoltzmann, although a probable-cause statement submitted by police says something else entirely, which we've explained in previous stories on the case, but we'll explain again.
Ammandea Stoltzmann told police she started keeping Ame in a dog crate in 2005. She also made Ame crush aluminum cans while barefoot and forced the girl to sleep in a pan meant for a shower floor. Stoltzmann said she'd ruin Ame's meals by dousing it with hot sauce "so strong you couldn't bear to be close by or your eyes would burn and water."
Police said Stoltzmann admitted to watching another relative lock Ame in a footlocker twice -- the same footlocker where Ame eventually died.
Witnesses not identified in the court document were the ones who brought these things to the cops' attention, and they claimed Stoltzmann did more than she admitted to, including keeping Ame outside at night with a dog collar and chain, and scrubbing her face with a wire brush for lying.
Police said Stoltzmann initially denied hurting Ame before conceding that some of the allegations were true.
A spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office told New Times after the charges were dropped that he couldn't elaborate on the reasoning.
For now, first-degree murder charges are still pending against John and Samantha Allen, who locked Ame in the footlocker the night she died, according to police, and the other three family members are waiting to be sentenced.
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