Stockton Springs couple pleads not guilty to murder of Marissa Kennedy

By Ethan Andrews | Apr 02, 2018
Photo by: Ethan Andrews Darrick X. Banda, a private attorney now representing Julio Carrillo, talks to reporters outside Waldo County Superior Court on Monday.

Belfast — Julio and Sharon Carrillo pleaded not guilty at their arraignment in Waldo County Superior Court Monday. Afterward, their attorneys hinted that the defense of either Carrillo may hinge on discrediting the other.

The Stockton Springs couple each face a charge of depraved indifference murder following the death of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy, who was found dead in their home on Cape Jellison in February.

Julio Carrillo was Marissa Kennedy's stepfather and reportedly was in the process of adopting her. Police at the time said that both Sharon and Julio confessed to beating Kennedy over several months prior to her death.

Sharon Carrillo appeared at Waldo County District Court Monday with her attorney Christopher MacLean, who entered her not guilty plea on her behalf.

"It takes her some time to process information and understand what's happening," MacLean said after the arraignment. "She's also a fairly timid and quiet person."

MacLean has said Sharon Carrillo has an IQ between 70 and 75 and that she was abused by her husband. On Monday, he reiterated that his client has "underlying mental retardation" and is intellectually deficient.

"Whether she has more complicated psychological conditions," he said, "we're exploring that."

Sharon Carrillo's defense team has filed a motion to remove state attorneys Leane Zainea and Donald Macomber from the prosecution after they obtained Carrillo's records from a boarding school she attended in New York using a subpoena with an invented court date.

MacLean said the subpoena had no authority when used outside Maine, and along with the fabricated date, was intended to trick the head of the school into mailing Sharon Carrillo's records, which she did. The state attempted to get records from a Newburgh, N.Y., Walmart where both the Carrillos may have worked, but rescinded the subpoena before receiving any records from Walmart, Zainea said at a hearing last week.

Justice Robert Murray ruled at that hearing that the records were improperly obtained by the state and barred them from use in the case. He gave the state 48 hours to hand over the records along with a list of state workers and police who had reviewed them.

A motion by Sharon Carrillo's defense team to dismiss the two state attorneys is still pending. On Monday, MacLean said he wants the entire Attorney General's Office barred from the case. He said he did not know of a time that this has happened before.

MacLean said his own investigation has revealed that the state routinely uses improper subpoenas to obtain information from sources outside Maine.

Julio Carrillo entered his own plea of not guilty on Monday, answering the judge in a high cracking voice. Julio Carrillo's court-appointed attorney has been dismissed and replaced by private attorney Darrick Banda.

Speaking outside the courthouse on Monday, Banda said the public has been misled by the narrative of domestic violence being espoused by Sharon Carrillo's defense team and said a clearer picture would emerge soon.

"There's a lot of interesting and bizarre things that we haven't learned about this case," Banda said, adding he is in the process of seeking medical information related to Marissa Kennedy and Sharon Carrillo. Banda declined to comment on whether Julio Carrillo has mental or physical disabilities.

"There's going to be some surprises in store," Banda said. "There's a lot more to this story than what you've heard."

MacLean agreed, to a certain extent. Sharon Carrillo's defense attorney hinted that he knows more than Banda, saying he has already reviewed 2,000 pages of documentation related to the case.

"There are some surprises," he said, "but ... what they tend to suggest is what I've been saying all along, that my client has been the victim of domestic violence in the relationship."

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