Day Four of murder trial; two jurors fall ill

Carillo trial: Jurors view horrific pictures of domestic abuse, violence

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 4:45pm

BELFAST — The fourth day of the trial against Sharon Carrillo began with a brief interview with Nicole Denis, who works with the Maine State Police Criminal Crimes Unit. 

Sharon Carrillo is being tried for the depraved indifference murder of her then-10-year-old daughter Marissa Kennedy Feb. 25, 2018. Both Sharon and her then-husband Julio Carrillo admitted in initial interviews following the death that they had beaten Marissa multiple times per day, every day, for months prior to her death. Julio Carrillo pleaded guilty to depraved indifference murder in July and was sentenced to 55 years in prison. Marissa’s cause of death is listed as battered child syndrome. 

The courtroom was sparsely filled, with a handful of spectators and five reporters following the case. Both the defense and state prosecutors had two tables set up, stacked with thick binders and scattered legal pads.

Sharon Carillo and her attorneys are seated on the left side of the room, with attorneys Chris MacLean and Laura Shaw alternately sitting beside Sharon or at the second table, which is located directly behind the first.

Assistant Attorneys General Donald Macomber and Leane Zainea are on the right side of the room seated at the first table. Also at the table is Maine State Police Detective Jason Andrews, who helps when things need to be shown on the big screen in the room. 

The first witness, Nicole Denis, of the MSPCCU, was on the stand for less than five minutes, testifying briefly about receiving cell phones recovered from Julio and Sharon and their residence. 

Dawn Ego, a computer forensic analyst at MSPCCU, walked jurors through the process of receiving the phones and the methods and technology used to examine them and extract information where possible. Ego explained that the phones are examined according to the specific brand and model.

After that, videos and photos recovered from the phone were shared with jurors. 

The photos were disturbing and difficult to view, with one showing Marissa in a kneeling position with her arms above her head, and very pale. The second photo was similar to the first except that in this image Sharon can be seen kneeling behind.

When asked by Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea whether any other images recovered, she answered that roughly 6,500 had been, but that she had not found another image that showed both mother and daughter being abused at the same time. 

Two videos were also played for the jury, with the first taken Christmas day, exactly two months before Marissa’s death. 

The first video shows Sharon sitting in one of the two camp chairs kept in the first-floor living room of the Carillo’s Stockton Springs home. In the video, she is screaming at Julio to “get away” from her as he videotapes her crying and screaming. Despite her pleas, her husband continued to film her as she walked through the house screaming. A toddler can be seen in the video running around in the background. 

The second video shows Sharon laying on the floor crying and screaming for Julio to “leave [her] alone,” before closing herself in a bedroom. In the video, Julio demands she open the door. 

A third video shown, which was substantially longer than the other two, illustrated more emotional and physical abuse, with screaming by husband and wife, and threats by the husband that continue for some time. Other small children are visibly upset and crying.

Also in this video, there is a moment where a child can briefly be seen kneeling on the floor in the background.

Jurors continued to view the videos and images, with at least one juror moved to tears by what he saw. 

The second half of the morning session was interrupted when the jury foreman became ill. This makes the second juror to become ill while serving on the jury, with a separate juror dismissed after he vomited twice during the trial. 

It is not yet clear whether that juror will return or whether an alternate will take his place.


Erica Thoms can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com