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Courts and Crime

Jury Finds Sharon Carrillo Guilty Of Murder In Death Of 10-Year-Old Daughter

Jennifer Mitchell
Maine Public
Sharon Carrillo, center, sobs as she learns she's been found guilty of murder in the death of her daughter, Marissa Kennedy.

After eight days of testimony, a jury in Waldo County Superior Courty found Sharon Carrillo guilty Wednesday of depraved indifference murder in the abuse death of her 10-year-0ld daughter Marissa Kennedy.Carrillo sobbed as the verdict was read, while her father and stepmother looked on and her aunt gave words of encouragement.

The jury of eight men and four women took about four-and-a-half hours to determine that the 34-year-old Carrillo was responsible for repeatedly beating Marissa Kennedy, who eventually succumbed to her injuries in February 2018.

The child's stepfather, Carrillo's estranged husband Julio Carrillo, pleaded guilty to the same charges in August, and received a 55-year sentence.

"And it's our full intention to seek a life sentence for Sharon Carrillo," said Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber.

Credit Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public
Maine Public
Defense attorney Chris MacLean outside the court house Wednesday.

Macomber said Carrillo could have pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility for her role in Kennedy's death but chose not to.

Another member of  the prosecuting team, Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, addressed questions over whether Carrillo should have been held responsible for her actions, if - as the defense argued - she also suffered horrific abuse at the hands of her husband.

"What our position is on whether or not Sharon Carrillo was a victim of domestic violence or not, doesn't matter," Zainea said. "This was the case of the state of Maine versus Sharon Carrillo for what she did to her daughter, and it was about holding her accountable for her actions that led to her daughter's death."

Credit Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public
Maine Public
Assistant Attorneys General Donald Macomber and Leane Zainea hold a photograph of Marissa Kennedy outside the court house Wednesday.

Throughout the trial, Carrillo's defense team emphasized that their client's mental and intellectual disabilities should be considered in assessing her guilt, and might have led to her make false statements about her involvement.

And they argued that Julio Carrillo — through his control, abuse, and violence — was solely responsible for Kennedy's death. Defense Attorney Chris MacLean says the verdict is disappointing, given the complexities involved in the case,

"There were novel issues presented of domestic violence and child abuse and the effect that domestic violence can have on a victim," MacLean says. "There was expert testimony about that issue that is rarely, if ever, heard in court rooms in the state of Maine. But I can also say that this is the first stage in the process, because we're not done fighting for Sharon Carrillo."

MacLean says the defense team plans to seek the most lenient sentence possible, and  will appeal the verdict to the Maine Supreme Court.

Sharon Carrillo will be sentenced Feb. 7.