Sharon Carrillo, who is accused of helping to beat her 10-year-old daughter to death last year, will be in court this week to learn if statements she made to police in the days after Marissa Kennedy’s death will be admissible at trial.
The 34-year-old is scheduled to appear at the Waldo Judicial Center at 8:30 a.m. Thursday for a two-day hearing. She was charged with murder along with Julio Carrillo, 52, her husband and Marissa’s stepfather, after the girl was found dead in their Stockton Springs home in February 2018.
Marissa allegedly had suffered months of physical abuse leading up to her death. Both Carrillos have pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been awaiting trial in jail since their arrest.
Sharon Carrillo’s defense team is arguing that she also suffered abuse at the hands of her husband and was a victim herself. Attorneys Christopher MacLean and Laura Shaw of Camden filed motions in February asking the court to separate her trial from Julio Carrillo’s and to suppress “any and all” statements Sharon Carrillo made to law enforcement officers between February 25, 2018, and February 26, 2018.
A hearing on the motion to hold two separate trials occurred in early April, but Justice Robert Murray has not yet made a decision.
Sharon Carrillo’s defense attorneys have said that the statements she made to police and other investigators should not be allowed on the grounds that they were not voluntary and were the product of interrogation techniques that violated her rights.
At the hearing, state prosecutors are likely to present testimony from the officers that interviewed Sharon Carrillo, Shaw said. The defense attorneys will call a couple of expert witnesses to the stand, including Dr. Sarah Miller, a psychologist from the Maine State Forensic Service.
According to the motion, Sharon Carrillo was purportedly advised of her Miranda rights by law enforcement officers who came to their home in Stockton Springs, and then waived them. However, her alleged waiver of those rights, which led to her purported confession that she was 50 percent responsible for Marissa’s death, can’t be considered “knowing, intelligent or voluntary,” her attorneys wrote.
In part, that’s because she has significant cognitive and developmental deficits, and her intelligence falls in the bottom 2 percent of the population, documents submitted by her defense state. In addition to her “compromised reasoning, judgment and problem solving abilities,” Sharon Carrillo also was experiencing depression, anxiety and trauma at the time of the interrogations because of the unusual nature of the situation, the attorneys wrote.
“Through no fault of the Maine State Police detectives, extraordinary and unfathomable facts about the conditions of Defendant’s life with Julio Carrillo were not yet known,” they wrote.
According to the motion, both Sharon Carrillo and Marissa were the victims of “severe domestic torture” at the hands of Julio Carrillo. Among the disturbing details described in the court document is the allegation that the mother and daughter were physically forced to kneel naked together on the floor of their home, as Julio Carrillo forced them to hold their arms in the air and threatened to beat them with his hands and other objects if they lowered their arms, which caused “excruciating” pain.
While the two were helpless in this position, the court document said, Julio Carrillo would sexually assault them. According to the filing, a cellphone photo allegedly recovered by police shows this. In the photo, Marissa appears to be 10 years old and her mother is visibly pregnant, the attorneys said.
State prosecutors have discounted the claims of abuse being made by Sharon Carrillo. Earlier this month, Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea said during a hearing on the motion to have the couple tried separately that investigators found no evidence to show that Julio Carrillo was abusive toward his wife. She also said that Sharon Carrillo told investigators that her husband did not abuse her.
Earlier this year, Julio Carrillo’s attorney Darrick X. Banda also discounted the documents filed by his wife’s attorneys.
“Sharon Carrillo’s attempts to deflect all blame onto Julio, in the end, are not going to be successful,” he said.
In January, Sharon Carrillo sought to have her marriage to Julio Carrillo annulled, but a hearing on the annulment was postponed. Last May, Sharon Carrillo gave birth to a son in a hospital while she was in custody at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, the couple’s third child together. Their two sons were ages 1 and 2 when the Carrillos were arrested, and all three children are now living with Julio’s parents, Julio Carrillo Sr. and Carmen Carrillo, who received court approval to become their foster parents.