Court dismisses appeal of woman convicted in 2018 murder of 10-year-old daughter

Fri, 04/02/2021 - 11:30am

    PORTLAND — A woman’s appeal of her murder conviction was dismissed by members of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court April 1, meaning she will serve her 48-year sentence.

    Sharon Kennedy was convicted of the February 2018 depraved indifference murder of her then-10-year-old daughter Marissa Kennedy. During her trial, jurors heard how the young girl had endured a months-long ordeal that included being beaten with a broom, fists, and other forms of torture. 

    The appeal filed by attorneys for Sharon Kennedy (formerly Carrillo) with the MSJC claimed in part that the Assistant Attorneys General who prosecuted the case should have been removed following alleged misuse of extrajudicial subpoenas.  

    Sharon Kennedy alleged that her then-husband Julio Carrillo subjected both her and Marissa to torture and abuse, compelling her to take part in the abuse of her daughter. Jurors rejected this explanation, instead finding her guilty. 

    Julio Carrillo chose to forego a trial and instead pleaded guilty July 22, 2019, to depraved indifference murder and received a sentence of 55 years in prison. 

    Attorney Christopher K. MacLean, who has represented Sharon since her arrest, has consistently argued that his client was a victim in the case, and promised to continue to appeal the case following her 2020 conviction. 

    MacLean’s argument to the MSJC, according to court documents, was that the two Assistant Attorneys General (Leane Zainea and Donald Macomber) representing the State should have been disqualified based on their access to privileged or confidential information obtained by the State’s violation of the subpoena process.”

    The claim relates to documents obtained by the State by sending subpoenas out of state in relation to the case, something MacLean argues is “a violation of the subpoena process.”

    Included in the decision are MSJC Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court Leigh Saufley, and Supreme Judicial Court Justices Andrew Mead, Ellen Gorman, Joseph Jabar, and Jeffrey Hjelm, in addition to Associate Justice Thomas Humphrey. 

    Despite the disputed information being sealed by Justice Robert Murray prior to the start of Sharon Kennedy’s trial, Attorney MacLean argued that having possessed them in the first place remained an issue, writing that prosecutors’ knowledge of the records “interferes with [Kennedy’s] right to testify at trial,” and “taints the process.”

    In their finding, MSJC Justices wrote in part that “[Kennedy] has failed to articulate any irreparable loss of a right that she stands to suffer by allowing these prosecutors to continue to represent the State.

     “Given the circumstances presented by this case, we decline to apply the death knell exception to the final judgment rule, and we therefore dismiss the appeal as interlocutory.”

    Interlocutory refers to motions “made during the progress of a legal action and not final or definitive.”

    Sharon Kennedy’s earliest date of release is listed as July 8, 2059, according to correction records. 

    Erica Thoms can be reached at