Attorneys seek to suppress Sharon Carrillo's statements

By Stephanie Grinnell | May 02, 2019
Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell Julio and Sharon Carrillo await the arrival of attorneys at Waldo Judicial Center on May 2.

Belfast — Four witnesses testified for a total of more than six hours today, speaking from various points of view about interactions with Sharon Carrillo on the day of, and subsequent days following, the death of her 10-year-old daughter Marissa Kennedy.

Carrillo and her husband Julio Carrillo are accused of beating the girl on a regular basis, including on the day of her death, Feb. 25, 2018, in the condominium they shared in Stockton Springs. Sharon Carrillo’s attorneys are seeking to suppress statements she made to police on Feb. 25 and 26.

The court heard from Waldo County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Darrin Moody, and Maine State Police Detectives Scott Quintero and Jason Andrews, as well as Dr. Robert Riley, a clinical neuropsychologist.

Police testified that Sharon Carrillo was mostly calm while being questioned, with the exception of a few times she began crying, and that she acknowledged and understood her Miranda rights.

In the courtroom as well, Sharon Carrillo cried several times while listening to testimony. Julio Carrillo, shackled at the ankles, did not speak or visibly react to Sharon Carrillo or the proceedings, but was present with his attorney.

State prosecutors showed a video of a walk-through of the crime scene with Sharon Carrillo, during which she demonstrated on Quintero the areas of Marissa’s body she said she regularly struck. Sharon Carrillo lay the blame for the regular beatings on text messages she said she received from her stepmother instructing her to abuse the child – including standing on or putting pressure on Marissa’s calves as she knelt on the floor with her hands in the air. Police said no evidence of text messages has been recovered.

Additional details about the girl’s condition were discussed as well, including that her knees were “worn down to the bone” from kneeling on the tile floor.

Defense attorneys Chris MacLean and Laura Shaw questioned the law enforcement officers about a photograph recovered from a cell phone shared by the Carrillos, which contains an image of mother and daughter both unclothed, on their knees with arms raised, which the Carrillos both say was a position Marissa was in when they beat her. The lawyers argued the photo is evidence of domestic violence extending to Sharon Carrillo; however, police and state prosecutors said one image is not enough to prove that Sharon Carrillo was a victim of her husband.

“If I look at just one piece of information frequently, I would be misled,” Quintero testified.

On behalf of the state, Donald Macomber asked if either Carrillo had described the circumstances of the photo. Quintero said Julio Carrillo told police that Marissa was complaining that the position was uncomfortable and said Sharon Carrillo offered to get in the same position to prove “it wasn’t that bad” and that Sharon Carrillo asked her husband to take the photo. Quintero said he did not ask Sharon Carrillo about the circumstances.

Both Quintero and Andrews testified that Sharon Carrillo stated her relationship with Julio Carrillo was good and never made any indication that she was a victim of domestic violence.

“So, you accepted her assertions at face value?” Shaw asked.

When Dr. Riley took the stand, he said there is some evidence in Sharon Carrillo’s medical history of domestic violence. State prosecutors said the reports were all made after Marissa’s death. Riley also testified that Sharon Carrillo has a low IQ, but based on several tests, she is not considered to be mentally ill or impaired.

He said Sharon Carrillo described Julio as “very abusive, manipulative and controlling.” Riley testified that she told him Julio would hide her phone and identification and tell her there was a bomb under her car and that her family did not want to see her. She described herself as being gullible for believing the things Julio told her, Riley said.

“She is more at risk than the average person” to be vulnerable to suggestion, the neuropsychologist said, later adding the test he used to determine her susceptibility to suggestion is considered controversial in his field by some. Riley said he, too, never asked Sharon Carrillo about the circumstances of the photo recovered from the cell phone.

Testimony is expected to continue tomorrow, starting at 8:30 a.m.

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