The woman charged in the killing of her 10-year-old daughter testified Friday that her husband told her to take half the blame for the child’s death, and said she feared he would hurt her if she refused.
Sharon Carrillo took the stand Friday afternoon to explain why she had previously told police she was partially responsible for the beating death of Marissa Kennedy in their Stockton Springs home in February 2018. Both she and Julio Carrillo, her husband and the girl’s stepfather, were charged with depraved indifference murder.
The hearing at the Waldo Judicial Center in Belfast centered on whether statements she made to police in the days after her daughter’s death should be suppressed during her homicide trial. She told Justice Robert Murray, who presided over the hearing, that there was a moment between Julio Carrillo’s second police interview and her second police interview that he came close enough to her to speak without being overheard by the detectives present.
“He whispered in my ear to take 50 percent blame,” she said through tears.
“Did you understand what that meant?” defense attorney Chris MacLean, who represents Sharon Carrillo, asked his client.
She told him that at first, she did not, but soon after detectives told her that Julio Carrillo had come clean to them and she should too, she said she realized what her husband had meant and what the stakes could be if she refused.
“I was scared that he would hurt me, that Julio would hurt me if I didn’t take 50 percent blame,” she said.
Julio Carrillo was in court for the hearing, too. He had often had his head on his hands during the testimony of others, but he sat up attentively as his wife spoke.
MacLean also showed Sharon Carrillo a copy of a photograph found on her husband’s cell phone that allegedly showed her and her daughter kneeling naked on a tile floor with their arms up, which the defense has pointed to as proof that they were both tortured by Julio Carrillo.
“What are you doing in that photograph?” he asked his client.
“We’re kneeling on the floor naked with our arms up in the air,” she said.
She told the court that it wasn’t the only time the two had to do that, and that they held their arms up in the air between half an hour and an hour. At the time the photograph was taken, she was five to six months pregnant, she said.
“How does it feel?” MacLean asked.
“It really hurts,” she said.
When he asked why she was in that position, she did not hesitate before giving her answer.
“I was forced to by Julio,” she said.
Her attorneys argued that Sharon Carrillo suffered long-term abuse at the hands of her husband. They are trying to prove that because of the abuse and her developmental disabilities, the statements she made to police without legal counsel should not be used as evidence against her.
But state prosecutors disagree, saying that she knew what she was doing when she agreed to speak at length to detectives on several occasions after Marissa’s body was found at the family’s Stockton Springs condominium. In these interviews, Sharon Carrillo told investigators that Marissa died because she fell while by herself in the basement watching the movie “Despicable Me.” But it didn’t take long before both Carrillos changed their story, individually telling detectives about the beatings and other abuse endured by the girl.
“Sharon, you’re a liar, is that right?” Assistant Attorney General Don Macomber said at the start of his cross-investigation of Carrillo.
She cried as she responded.
“I sometimes lie, yes,” she told the prosecutor.
Macomber worked to drive his point home, asking her if she was aware that her stepmother has said that she “constantly lies,” if she agreed she lied to police for hours during their first interview with her and if she knew she lied to hospital staff before Marissa’s death, telling them that her children would be safe with Julio Carrillo. Marissa had two younger half-siblings, and three months after her death, Sharon Carrillo gave birth to another baby.
She did not deny anything that the prosecutor said.
“You said you hit her with a belt. You said you punched her in the face. You told those two detectives that you made your daughter kneel on the floor,” Macomber said. “You told those two detectives you hated your daughter.”
“That was a lie as well,” Sharon Carrillo said. She maintained she was telling the truth when she said Julio forced her to pose for the photo kneeling on the floor.
In addition to Sharon Carrillo’s testimony, the court heard Friday from two forensic psychologists — Dr. Sarah Miller, the director of the State Forensic Service, and Dr. Michael O’Connell, an expert witness who came from Maryland. They addressed Sharon Carrillo’s developmental disabilities, her alleged history of abuse, her ability to make a voluntary statement and more. Maine State Police Detective Scott Quintero also took the stand for the second day in a row to say he had not seen Julio Carrillo whisper anything to his wife in between the two interviews.
It was not clear Friday afternoon when Justice Murray would make his ruling about whether or not to suppress the evidence.