Sharon Kennedy Sentenced To 48 Years In Prison For The Murder Of Her Daughter

Feb 21, 2020

Sharon Kennedy was sentenced to 48 years in prison on Friday for the murder of her daughter — in a case that helped lead to an overhaul of the state's child welfare system.

Sharon Carrillo, who was convicted of murdering her 10-year-old daughter, reacts during her sentencing hearing at the Waldo Judicial Center, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Belfast, Maine.
Credit Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Kennedy, whose last name was Carrillo until a recent marriage annulment, was sentenced two months after being found guilty of depraved indifference murder of her daughter, 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy. In court on Friday, prosecutors described details of months of beatings that ultimately led to Marissa Kennedy's death, with a cause classified by the state medical examiner's office as "battered child syndrome."

Maine Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea said on Friday that Sharon Kennedy should be sentenced to life in prison for her role as an active participant in the months of suffering endured by her daughter.

“It's almost an understatement to say that this was a murder accompanied by torture and other extreme cruelty, viewed objectively, without consideration of the conscious suffering of the victim,” Zainea said.

Attorneys for Kennedy, meanwhile, argued that she deserved the minimum sentence of 25 years in prison, saying that Kennedy had limited cognitive ability and had been manipulated by her former husband, Julio Carrillo. Carrillo was sentenced to 55 years in prison last year after pleading guilty to the same charges.

Kennedy's family members read several letters supporting her. Her father, Joseph Kennedy, asked for a lighter sentence for his daughter, whom he said was also abused by Carrillo.

"He changed Sharon from the caring, loving mother we all knew into a scared, domineered shell of her former self," he said.

Judge Robert Murray said that the evidence clearly showed Kennedy to be an active participant in the crime, but said that he balanced several factors, including her lack of criminal history and low chance of re-offending, before reaching the 48-year sentence.

Outside the courthouse following the hearing, Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea declined to comment on whether she was "pleased or displeased" with the verdict.

Kennedy's lawyer, Laura Shaw, said she was disappointed and planned to appeal.

Updated 4:50 p.m. Feb. 21, 2020

Ed note: The headline for this post has been updated with Kennedy's name.