BELFAST, Maine — A Waldo County judge will require the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to release more than 1,000 pages of records that pertain to 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy, who was beaten to death in February 2018.
But they won’t be made available to the public or the media, according to Chris MacLean, the Camden defense attorney for Sharon Carrillo who is awaiting trial for the murder of her daughter.
Instead, only prosecution and defense teams working on the woman’s homicide case will be granted access.
“I’m told there are lots and lots of records,” MacLean said on the steps of the Waldo County Judicial Center on Tuesday, adding that the documents will be held behind closed doors. “The [attorney general’s] office asked that the DHHS records be made available to the court, and we did not object.”
MacLean and Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber had met privately with Justice Robert Murray to discuss scheduling, motions and other matters connected with the homicide case.
Sharon Carrillo, 34, faces up to life in prison for her alleged role in the beating death of Marissa Kennedy, who was found dead in the Stockton Springs condo where her family was living. Sharon Carrillo and her husband, Julio Carrillo, initially told investigators that the girl had suffered a fatal accident while watching a movie by herself in the basement, but it did not take long before both admitted to police they had severely beaten her.
An autopsy found that Marissa Kennedy died of battered child syndrome, with wounds on her body — both old and new — bearing witness to her physical suffering.
Her death, and the child abuse death of 4-year-old Kendall Chick of Wiscasset just two months prior, caused the state to shine a spotlight on the child welfare system. After the two high-profile child deaths, the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability released a report earlier this year that found most frontline child welfare caseworkers in Maine are overworked and regularly unable to fully meet the needs of the families they are supposed to serve.
Sharon Carrillo’s murder trial is expected to last two weeks and is scheduled for December.
Julio Carrillo, 52, was sentenced in late August to 55 years in prison for the beating death of his stepdaughter. But Sharon Carrillo’s legal team has steadfastly denied that she was responsible for her daughter’s death, and claimed that she also was mentally and physically abused by her husband.
MacLean said a jury of Waldo County residents will be selected at the beginning of December, a process that he expects to take a couple of days.
He also responded to a bold claim made in August by Julio Carrillo’s defense attorney, Darrick X. Banda, that suggested there was a new piece of physical evidence that would be important in the trial.
“It’s like Marissa’s speaking from the grave,” Banda said then, declining to give further details.
MacLean said he has now seen that evidence, which he dismissed as “undated, hand-written notes” that will not matter to the case.
“It may be something Julio had written while sitting in prison,” the attorney said. “It’s certainly not conclusive proof of Sharon’s guilt. It has no effect on anything.”