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Sharon Kennedy sentenced to 48 years in jail

By Fran Gonzalez | Feb 21, 2020
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Sharon Kennedy is consoled by her attorney, Laura Shaw, at Waldo County Judicial Center Feb. 21. Kennedy was sentenced to 48 years in prison for her role in the 2018 death of her 10-year-old daughter, Marissa Kennedy.

Belfast — Sharon Carillo, now known as Sharon Kennedy, was sentenced to 48 years in prison and ordered to pay $6,100 in restitution to the state for her role in the 2018 death of her 10-year-old daughter, Marissa Kennedy.

Kennedy’s estranged husband, Julio Carrillo, was sentenced in August 2019 to 55 years after pleading guilty to murdering Marissa, who was his stepdaughter.

According to previous reports, Marissa was found dead in February 2018 inside the Stockton Springs condominium where she lived with Sharon and Julio Carrillo and two younger children. While the couple tried to depict Marissa’s death as an accident or the result of self-inflicted injuries, police and medical personnel quickly determined that the girl had been severely abused for a prolonged period.

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea asked the court for a life sentence, while Kennedy’s attorney, Laura Shaw, asked for the minimum allowable prison time of 25 years.

“I think I’m dying,” were the last words spoken by Marissa, Zainea said, before her speech became too slurred to understand. “Words Marissa told her mother one day before she died.”

Zainea said Marissa’s suffering was the aggravating factor that should be considered in sentencing Kennedy to life. “Through her own admission,” Zainea said, “she engaged in the ritualistic torture (of Marissa) using a belt to inflict pattern injuries.”

Marissa had 40 to 50 traumatic lesions, she said, blunt-force trauma to her head, three semi-healed broken ribs, and a lacerated liver. From repeated beatings, Zainea said, she suffered hair loss.

The girl also had abrasions to the tops of her feet that became septic after weeks or months of being forced to kneel on a tile floor — often naked with her hands raised above her head — while she was being slapped, hit and struck with a belt.

She suffered from chronic stress and fear of impending pain, which produced adrenaline and ultimately affected her heart, Zainea said. “Marissa’s heart was the target, constant with an adrenaline dump,” she said. “It killed her heart cells.”

Shaw argued that Kennedy was a victim of severe domestic violence, whom Carillo abused mentally and psychologically. “Julio was the mastermind giving instructions and had the idea to punish Marissa,” she said. “He is more culpable. Sharon should not receive more time than Julio.”

Shaw said Kennedy keeps a photograph of Marissa with her in jail at all times and feels significant grief.

Several letters from members of her family supporting Kennedy were read. Roseann Kennedy said her stepdaughter was always quiet, soft-spoken and anti-violent. “She got upset with me if I disciplined Marissa,” she said. “She was always a loving and caring mother.”

She said Sharon was a good person who “got herself into a nightmare.”

Superior Court Justice Robert Murray said the “defendant’s own words demonstrated her complicity.”  In her confession, Kennedy said, “I should have never done it … I should have stopped,” instead of saying “we.”

He went on to say the evidence in the case fully supports the jury’s verdict and also supports the defendant’s role in the beatings. But he added that in comparison to Carillo, her role was less egregious.

The fact that Kennedy has no criminal history, has significant family support and limited intellectual capacity were mitigating factors, Murray said. Kennedy is prone to manipulation and there is evidence of domestic violence between the defendant and the co-conspirator.

“The mitigating outweigh the aggravating factors,” Murray said.

Kennedy's attorney said she will appeal both the verdict and the sentence.

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