Sharon Carrillo takes stand in preliminary hearing

By Stephanie Grinnell | May 03, 2019
File photo Sharon Carrillo is led into Waldo County Superior Court Feb. 28, 2018.

Belfast — During about 25 minutes of testimony today, Sharon Carrillo admitted that she lied to police about the circumstances of her daughter’s death but said she did it because she was afraid her husband would hurt her if she did not lie.

Sharon and Julio Carrillo are both accused of causing the death of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy on Feb. 25, 2018, at the Stockton Springs condominium where the family lived.

On Friday, Sharon Carrillo took the witness stand during the second day of a preliminary hearing that her attorneys hope will result in her statements to police being suppressed. Describing the circumstances of questioning, Sharon Carrillo said her husband “whispered in my ear to take 50-percent blame.” Through intermittent tears and audible sobs, she said she did not know what Julio Carrillo meant until she was questioned by police a second time.

“After what the detectives told me what Julio admitted to, then I understood what it meant,” Sharon Carrillo said. “I was scared that he would hurt me if I didn’t confess, if I didn’t take the blame.”

Defense attorney Chris MacLean showed Sharon Carrillo a photograph that is part of the evidence in the case and asked her to describe what she saw in the image.

“Me and my daughter Marissa Kennedy,” she said, noting both were kneeling with arms above their heads, and naked.  She confirmed the photo was taken in the kitchen of the Stockton Springs condo. MacLean asked if the photo was the only time she was in the kneeling position.

“That’s not the only time, no,” Sharon Carrillo said. She estimated she held the position for between 30 minutes and an hour and said it was painful. When MacLean asked if she volunteered to pose for the photo, as has been alleged by Julio Carrillo, Sharon Carrillo denied doing so. Later in her testimony, she said she was not aware a photo was taken at the time.

“I was forced to by Julio,” she said. In addition, she said she was five or six months pregnant at the time and said he “rubbed his feet against my vagina,” which she described as feeling “very uncomfortable.”

Seated at a separate defense table, Julio Carrillo shook his head no at her assertion, the only clearly visible reaction to his wife’s testimony.

Representing the state, Donald Macomber cross-examined Sharon Carrillo.

“Sharon, you’re a liar, is that right?” he said.

“I sometimes lie, yes,” she responded.

Macomber asked a series of questions about information she gave police and health care personnel, with Sharon Carrillo responding that she did not always tell the truth. The attorney asked if it was a lie that she performed “karate chops” to Marissa’s sides, which she demonstrated on State Police Detective Scott Quintero in a video shown in court the previous day.

“Yes, it was,” she said.

Macomber said Sharon Carrillo told police she hated Marissa because the girl wrote a letter that said she hated Sharon Carrillo and said she didn’t want her to be her mother anymore.

“That was a lie as well,” Sharon Carrillo said.

She admitted she did not reveal any domestic violence incidents to anyone prior to being arrested.

“No, I didn’t tell anybody for a reason,” she said, but did not elaborate.

Regarding Julio Carrillo whispering in her ear to take some of the blame for Marissa’s death, Macomber said, “That’s something you want the judge to believe?”

“Yes,” Sharon Carrillo said.

The cross-examination also included questions about Sharon Carrillo’s understanding of instructions from the judge as well as understanding of her Miranda rights when being questioned by police after Marissa’s death. Macomber noted that Sharon Carrillo seemed nervous on the stand, which she confirmed. He asked if she had understood all of his questions.

“Some of them, yes,” she responded, clarifying that she asked that a question be repeated if she did not understand it.

Earlier in the day, two expert witnesses — a clinical psychologist and a forensic psychologist — testified about evaluations of Sharon Carrillo’s mental health, intelligence and susceptibility to suggestion or coercion, as well as an early childhood trauma and related behavioral issues.

Both sides are expected to file written closing arguments with the court within 10 days and will have another seven days to respond to the opposing argument before Justice Robert Murray makes a ruling on suppressing Sharon Carrillo’s statements. No additional court dates on the matter have been set.

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