The attorney representing a mother accused of participating in months of brutal “punishment” beatings that ultimately killed her 10-year-old daughter said Monday that he wants to get his client released on bail.
Sharon Carrillo is charged with depraved indifference murder in the death of her daughter, Marissa Kennedy. State police say Sharon Carrillo and her husband, Julio Carrillo, beat Marissa on a nearly daily basis since October, forcing her to kneel on the kitchen tile floors while they struck her ribs and abdomen with a leather belt.
But Christopher MacLean, a Camden-based attorney representing Sharon Carrillo, said he believes his client’s alleged role in the abuse may have been exaggerated or her participation coerced.
“It is becoming increasingly apparent that the affidavit does not accurately reflect the events that took place in the Carrillo home,” he said in a Monday night email. “Sharon was the victim of serious domestic violence.”
The Carrillos’ neighbors have said they reported and intervened in frequent fights between Julio and Sharon in the years since they moved to Maine from New York. Police responded several times, but no one was arrested for any crime.
In 2000, while Julio Carrillo lived in Kentucky, his ex-wife was the petitioner in a domestic violence case against him, according to a Kentucky court clerk.
MacLean said he has concerns about Sharon Carrillo’s safety and welfare while she’s being held at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset awaiting trial. She is seven months pregnant and expected to deliver a baby in May, according to her husband’s attorney.
“Defendants facing these kind of charges are at a very high risk of being physically assaulted,” MacLean said.
Both Carrillos face stringent bail conditions set during their first appearance in court last week. The judge set bail at $500,000 cash with no option for third-party surety. Neither are likely to come up with that kind of money. Even if released, both are barred from interacting with any children younger than 15, including their two biological children, ages 1 and 2, who the Maine Department of Health and Human Services took into its custody after the Carrillos’ arrest.
MacLean said he expects to ask for a reduction in the bail amount that would give Sharon Carrillo a chance at release, but said he needs to review more information about the case from the attorney general’s office, which could take several weeks to provide the information.
If Carrillo isn’t able to post bail in the next two to three months, she likely will give birth while incarcerated.
Col. James Bailey, corrections administrator at Two Bridges Regional Jail, where Shaon Carillo is being held, said it’s highly unusual for an inmate at his facility to give birth while in custody. He said he’s only aware of it happening once or twice since 2006, when the jail opened.
He declined to discuss the health status of any individual, but said typically a pregnant inmate wouldn’t be housed apart from the rest of the jail population unless there was a “safety or medical need to do so.”
The jail has medical staff on site and works with a contracted medical provider to give care to any inmates, pregnant or otherwise.
“If there’s some sort of specialty medical need, we’d arrange for outside care,” Bailey said.
If an inmate needs to deliver a baby, she’s taken to an area hospital, likely in Brunswick or Damariscotta. Depending on the severity of the crime or charges the inmate is facing, a police or corrections officer might be posted at the hospital during the inmate’s stay as a patient.
It doesn’t happen often, because inmates held in Two Bridges are typically incarcerated for lesser crimes and shorter periods of time, or be more likely to find favorable bail conditions to allow them to give birth while on release.
Regardless of whether Carrillo is in jail or out on bail for the birth, DHHS is expected to take custody of the newborn immediately after it’s medically cleared to do so, according to MacLean.
Julio Carrillo’s attorney, Steven Peterson of Rockland, didn’t respond to a message requesting comment.
Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.
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