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Courts and Crime

Maine's Top Court Rejects Appeal In Murder Sentence Of Marissa Kennedy's Mother

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Robert F. Bukaty
/
Associated Press
Sharon Kennedy

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has upheld the 48-year prison sentence of a Stockton Springs woman for the beating death of her young daughter, 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy, three years ago.

Attorneys for Sharon Kennedy had appealed the outcome of her case, which drew widespread attention and helped force a reckoning in Maine over child abuse.

But in a written opinion released this week, the Law Court rejected Kennedy’s appeal in a 4-to-1 opinion.

In their appeal, Kennedy’s lawyers argued that a Waldo County court should have given more consideration to their client's cognitive challenges and to the domestic violence she reportedly suffered at the hands of her ex-husband, Julio Carrillo. (Kennedy previously had Carrillo's last name.)

They also argued that prosecutors prejudiced the jury against Kennedy by mentioning a confession of physical and sexual abuse that she allegedly made to a prison cell mate, even though a justice ruled that information couldn’t be used as evidence because it was hearsay.

Four justices on the Law Court rejected Kennedy’s appeal, upholding her prison sentence.

But in a dissenting opinion, Justice Joseph Jabar wrote that a mistrial should have been declared for Kennedy because of the reference in court to her alleged conversation with a cell mate.

Kennedy’s ex-husband, Julio Carillo, is now serving a 55-year sentence for his step-daughter’s murder.