The parents of 10-year-old girl in Stockton Springs who died from Battered Child syndrome are each being held on $500,000 bail after appearing in Waldo County Superior Court Wednesday.
Sharon and Julio Carrillo have each been charged with depraved indifference murder in the death of Marissa Kennedy, and, if convicted, could face life in prison. A former neighbor said he and others also witnessed abuse and repeatedly called police.
Sharon Carrillo was the first to appear before the court. She cried as Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber told Judge Robert Murray that in his nearly 30 years of prosecuting cases, this is the most serious case of depraved murder he's seen.
“What she subjected her child to can only be described as torture. She tortured her child multiple times a day, every day, for a period of months,” said Macomber.
Macomber said that both Sharon and Julio Carrillo pose a flight risk. He also noted that Julio Carrillo was convicted of domestic violence in Kentucky in 2000. Judge Murray granted his request that each parent be held at $500,000 bail with no contact allowed with children under age 15.
Outside the courthouse after the hearing, Sharon Carrillo's court-appointed attorney Chris MacLean said he's just learning about the case, but wonders whether Julio was leading the abuse.
“It certainly looks that way to me at first blush, I mean he seems like a man who had some domestic violence history, and he is certainly someone I'm going to be looking at closely as I go through this process,” said MacLean.
Julio Carrillo's court-appointed attorney, Steven Peterson, said he is also new to the case, but he expects there will be a forensic evaluation of his client's mental health.
“I know there's been some history, at least in my client's case, I can't speak for the other one, of some mental problems in his past,” said Peterson.
The Carrillos, who also have two other young children, moved to Bangor two years ago. One of their former neighbors, Randy Poulin, said he witnessed Julio Carrillo abuse Sharon's eldest daughter, Marissa Kennedy the first day they moved in.
“They were bringing stuff into the apartment, she dropped something, and the father smacked her upside the head like a man would to a man because she dropped,” said Poulin. “And he took the little girl's teddy bear away from her and threw it in the dumpster because of it and that was the first time.”
Poulin said he wasn't the only one who saw the abuse or who called the police.
“Most everybody around here has witnessed it. One of the tenants kicked in their door because of the violence. I mean, Bangor cops have been here more than once. A lot of times they couldn't get in. I never seen them arrest him, though.”
It's unclear what action police took. The Bangor police department did not respond to phone calls from Maine Public Radio at the time of this story. It's also unclear whether anyone else tried to intervene. The superintendent of Bangor schools said because of privacy laws, she could confirm only that Marissa Kennedy attended school there last year.
The family moved to Stockton Springs sometime this past fall, but it’s unclear whether the child was showing up at school in recent weeks. A principal for the local elementary school did not return a phone call to Maine Public Radio.
It was last Sunday when Julio Carrillo called 911 to report that 10-year old Marissa was found passed out on the floor of their basement with blood coming out of her mouth. Marissa Kennedy was pronounced dead after first responders arrived. Officers from the Waldo County Sheriff's office and the Maine State Police found multiple areas of bruising on Kennedy's head, abdomen, and legs.
The Carrillos told the officers that starting last October, they beat the girl multiple times a day with their hands, a leather belt and, three weeks ago, a mop that broke in half when Julio Carrillo struck Kennedy in the ribs. They also forced Kennedy to stay in a small closet for extended periods.
Around February 22 or 23, Kennedy was no longer able to walk or speak without slurring her words. Sharon Carrillo told officers she beat her daughter one last time because the couple thought she was pretending about her injuries. She also said the couple planned to stage a scene to make it appear that Marissa injured herself.
An autopsy showed that Marissa Kennedy died from Battered Child Syndrome, with bleeding in the brain, a lacerated liver and multiple old injuries.