BELFAST — The stepfather of a 10-year-old girl killed in her Stockton Springs home in February 2018 is expected to plead guilty to knowing and intentional murder in Waldo County Unified Court July 29, according to Marc Malon, spokesman for the Maine Attorney General Office.
According to Malon, the State will seek a term of life imprisonment in the case.
Julio Carrillo and his then-wife Sharon Carrillo (51 and 33 at the time) were both charged with knowing and intentional murder after the Feb. 25, 2018 death of Marissa Kennedy, who died at the Stockton Springs condo the family shared, after months of sustained abuse. They have both been incarcerated at Two Bridges Regional Jail since their Feb. 26, 2018, arrest.
Both Carrillo’s admitted to taking part in the abuse that ultimately led to Marissa’s death, with both admitting to beating her, at times with the handle of a mop, among other abuses. Lawyers for Sharon Carrillo moved to have all of her initial interviews suppressed, arguing that Sharon Carrillo, who has an estimated IQ of 78, according to court documents, was unable to voluntarily waive her Miranda rights.
They also allege that Sharon was the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her then-husband, leading her to be afraid not to go along when he allegedly instructed her to “take 50 percent” blame when speaking with detectives.
After a hearing on the matter, Justice Robert Murray determined that the statements would not be suppressed during Sharon Carrillo’s scheduled December trial.
One person hoping that the trial never comes to pass is Sharon Carrillo’s lawyer, Chris MacLean, of Camden Law, who maintains his client is also a victim of Julio Carrillo’s.
When reached for comment MacLean said some reports regarding the issue of dismissal are incorrect before clarifying his intentions.
“We have said that we intend to approach the prosecutors and ask them to dismiss the charges against Sharon. We have not said that we will be filing any request with the court to have the charges dismissed. There would be no basis for a judge to dismiss the charges based on anything we could file; any decision to dismiss the charges would come from the prosecutors and would be part of discussions between Sharon’s lawyers and the prosecutors,” he wrote in an email.
As for what prompted the decision to ask prosecutors to drop the charges against his client, MacLean said they believe the prosecutors should dismiss the charges for a number of reasons.
“Our belief that the prosecutors should dismiss the charges against Sharon is the result of the overwhelming evidence that Julio was responsible for killing Marissa Kennedy and was committing monstrous domestic violence in the home against both Marissa and Sharon, and that Sharon, who has an IQ in the bottom 2% of intelligence, was a victim and not a participant in Julio’s crimes,” MacLean wrote.
Once Julio has pleaded guilty, MacLean said it would “make sense for the prosecutors to take a look at whether they are seriously interested in maintaining charges against Sharon when overwhelming evidence suggests that Julio was solely responsible for Marissa’s death.”
When asked why he thought Julio Carrillo may have decided to plead guilty, despite a potential life-sentence, MacLean said he believes since the evidence is so overwhelming “the chances of him being found not guilty were remote.”
He said it was not surprising that Julio Carrillo has decided to change his plea.
By pleading guilty, MacLean said Julio Carrillo could argue he deserves some credit for saving the state the expense of a trial and should not receive a life sentence. Another reason could be over fears for his safety while behind bars.
“He also may have wished to avoid a public presentation of evidence showing what he did to Marissa Kennedy. He has already been violently attacked in jail once; he may have been concerned that more public revelations of the evidence would cause him some more problems in prison,” MacLean said.
Julio Carrillo was attacked while behind bars at Two Bridges Regional Reentry Center, where both Carrillo’s have been held since their arrests.
He is expected to change his plea in Waldo County Unified Court Monday, July 29, at 1 p.m.
Erica Thoms can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org