October 19, 2019
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Judge rules Maine prosecutors improperly acquired info in Marissa Kennedy case

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Sharon Carrillo, 33, is escorted into the courtroom at the Waldo County Superiour Court on Feb. 28, 2017. Carrillo and her husband Julio Carrillo, 51, were charged with the beating death of Sharon’s 10-year-old daughter Marissa Kennedy in Stockton Springs. On Tuesday, March 27, a superior court justice ordered state prosecutors to turn over or destroy any records obtained via a pair of “improper” subpoenas used to seek information about Sharon Carrillo.

BELFAST, Maine — A Superior Court justice on Tuesday ordered state prosecutors to turn over or destroy any records obtained via a pair of “improper” subpoenas used to seek information about Sharon Carrillo, the Stockton Springs mother accused of beating her 10-year-old daughter to death.

Sharon and her husband, Julio Carrillo, are charged with depraved indifference murder in the death of Sharon’s daughter, Marissa Kennedy.

Defense attorneys say they want to disqualify any state investigators or prosecutors who might have seen or handled the documents, even if it means disqualifying the entire attorney general’s office.

[Lawyer for Marissa Kennedy’s mother claims state lied to get school records]

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea conceded during a Tuesday hearing that the state didn’t follow proper procedures in its efforts to obtain the out-of-state records. She argued it wasn’t “deception or fraud,” as defense attorneys claimed, but an inadvertent “procedural error.”

Superior Court Justice Robert Murray gave prosecutors 48 hours to hand over any records they had received or would receive as a result of those two subpoenas, and said any records they hand over would be sealed by the court.

Zainea handed Murray two envelopes during the hearing, saying they held all the records the state had received to that point. He also ordered that any digital records received be deleted or destroyed, and said the state must file an affidavit detailing anyone who received, handled or viewed the documents.

[What we know about the life of the Maine child allegedly killed by her parents]

Laura Shaw, one of Carrillo’s attorneys, said she still has concerns that the state’s actions might undermine her client’s rights or chance at a fair trial. Based on the details of the prosecution’s affidavit, Shaw said she plans to request those individuals, if not the entire AG’s office, be removed from the case.

Shaw said she isn’t sure what the procedure would be if the entire office were disqualified because she hasn’t seen it happen before, but it’s likely a district attorney’s office would take over. No hearing date has been set for the potential disqualification discussion.

Last week, Sharon Carrillo’s other attorney, Chris MacLean, filed a motion claiming that prosecutors used “dishonest and deceitful” methods to obtain 73 pages of records from his client’s former school in New York, arguing the records should be tossed out.

Earlier this month, a state police detective collecting evidence in the case requested records related to Sharon Carrillo from the Maplebrook School in Amenia, New York, a private boarding school for students with learning disabilities, according to court records. Carrillo, then called Sharon Kennedy, was once a student at Maplebrook.

When the head of the school declined to send the records, citing student privacy laws, the attorney general’s office sent a subpoena, which stated that the head of school would have to appear to testify in a Belfast courthouse on April 6, unless she complied with the subpoena.

The school sent the documents, which included a psychological evaluation.

A few days later, the defense learned a similar subpoena was sent to Walmart, a former employer of both Sharon and Julio Carrillo. The state rescinded after defense attorneys challenged that subpoena, and claims it hasn’t received any records from the company.

[Bangor school officials reported suspected abuse of girl who later died, superintendent says]

Shaw argued that a Maine subpoena has “no authority to command the production of documents outside of the state of Maine.” She also claimed prosecutors didn’t follow proper procedure in requesting evidence that included confidential information. In addition, court records on file don’t show any April 6 court proceedings scheduled in relation to the Carrillo case.

On Monday, MacLean and Shaw filed their motion seeking to remove AG’s office prosecutors from the case.

Prosecutors allege that Sharon and Julio Carrillo beat Marissa on a daily basis for months, until she ultimately succumbed to her injuries in late February inside the Stockton Springs condominium owned by Sharon’s parents.

Sharon Carrillo’s attorneys have questioned to what extent she was involved in Marissa’s alleged beatings, arguing that she was a victim of frequent mental and physical abuse at the hands of her husband as well. They’ve also hinted that they believe she may have intellectual or mental health issues that could play a role in the case, prompting prosecutors to seek records from her former school and employer.

Sharon Carrillo has been ordered by the court to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in the coming weeks. She and Julio Carrillo remain in custody at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset on $500,000 bond.

Both Carrillos are scheduled to be arraigned Monday, April 2, and are expected to plead not guilty.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.

Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest Maine news.

Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.

 



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