BELFAST, Maine — The eight men and four women tasked with deciding whether or not Sharon Carrillo is guilty of violently beating her daughter to death were given instructions Wednesday morning before heading out of the courtroom to deliberate.
Sharon Carrillo, 34, is charged with the depraved indifference murder of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy in February 2018 at their Stockton Springs home. Justice Robert Murray told jurors that under Maine law she is “guilty” if she committed the crime herself or as an accomplice to another person. Her estranged husband, Julio Carrillo, 52, pleaded guilty earlier this year to the same charge, and was sentenced to 55 years in prison.
If found guilty, Sharon Carrillo could face up to life in prison.
Murray told jurors that the fact Julio Carrillo pleaded guilty “does not exonerate” his estranged wife, and he instructed them to give no weight to the fact Sharon Carrillo did not testify in her own defense.
“You must not speculate on what other witnesses might have been called or what evidence might have been presented,” he said.
Jurors must come to a unanimous decision about Sharon Carrillo’s guilt in the crime, he said, adding that they need not unanimously decide if she committed the crime herself or was an accomplice.
The state bears the burden of proving “beyond a reasonable doubt,” Murray said, that Sharon Carrillo was either the principal or the accomplice in causing Kennedy’s death. To prove that Sharon Carrillo was an accomplice, the state must show that someone else committed the crime against Kennedy, that Sharon Carrillo either solicited someone to assault Kennedy or aided, agreed to aid or attempted to aid them in the planning to commit the assault.
The judge said that jurors are free to consider the relationship between the person who actually committed the crime and the accomplice. Finally, jurors must find that the state proved that it was Sharon Carrillo’s intent to promote or facilitate the assault against her daughter.
Sharon Carrillo’s defense team has worked to show their client was also a victim of Julio Carrillo, and that her intellectual disability meant that she was vulnerable to making a false confession to police.
The defense rested its case Tuesday, and the eight-day trial came to an end later that afternoon after the defense and prosecution made their closing arguments to the jury.
Murray told the jurors that they can take as much time as they need to talk about the evidence and the case.
“You should not hesitate to change your mind if the arguments of the other jurors [convince you you are wrong,]” he told them. “And you should not give up a well-reasoned belief simply because you stand alone, or because you just want to go home. … There really is no magic formula of how long you should be in the jury room to deliberate.”