Jurors begin deliberations in trial of Sharon Carrillo

Wed, 12/18/2019 - 3:00pm

BELFAST — Day 9 of the trial against Sharon Carrillo began with Justice Robert Murray giving the jury instructions for their deliberations.

The process lasted approximately 35 minutes, and the judge presented his instructions both verbally and as written in a packet. The latter had specific information about what constitutes depraved difference murder and the specific requirements that a finding of guilty would require.

The defendant, in this case, Sharon Carrillo, is charged in the indictment with the “depraved indifference” murder of Marissa Kennedy. 

“Before I instruct you on the law which defines this crime,” Justice Robert Murray told jurors, “I must inform you of a general principle of Maine law. That principle provides that a person is guilty of a crime if that person either personally commits the crime herself, or if that person is an accomplice of another person in the commission of that crime. 

“An ‘accomplice’ is a person who is held legally accountable for a crime which is, in fact, committed by another. Thus, the State establishes that a person is guilty of a particular crime if the State proves beyond a reasonable doubt either that the person herself personally committed the crime or that person was an accomplice of another person in the commission of that crime.

“Under the circumstances of this case, the State alleges that Ms. Carrillo either personally committed the crime of depraved indifference murder or was the accomplice of another in its commission. While your verdict must be unanimous, you do not have to unanimously agree on whether the State has proven that Ms. Carrillo acted as a principal or as an accomplice,” Justice Murray said.

Sharon Carrillo sat between her two attorneys Laura Shaw and Chris MacLean while Justice Murray instructed the jury. She periodically wiped tears from her eyes, looking back at her family that has attended the trial. 

With the trial at an end, the jury was dismissed to begin their deliberations, with the two remaining alternate jurors dismissed from the case. 

Part of the instructions given to jurors included what the specific law requires to return a guilty verdict on the charge of depraved indifference murder. The eight-page document ends with instructions about what jurors should consider before making their ultimate decision.

“If you conclude that the State has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt (1) that Marissa Kennedy is dead or (2) that Sharon Carrillo, as a principal or an accomplice as defined [earlier], caused her death, or (3) that Ms. Carrillo, as a principal or an accomplice as defined above, engaged in conduct manifesting a depraved indifference to the value of human life when causing the death, then your verdict would be that Ms. Carrillo is not guilty of depraved indifference murder and you would return your verdict accordingly,” Justice Murray said.

“If you conclude that the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Marissa Kennedy is dead and that Sharon Carrillo, as a principal or an accomplice as defined [earlier], caused her death, and that Ms. Carrillo, as principal or as an accomplice as defined [earlier], engaged in conduct manifesting a depraved indifference to the value of human life when causing the death, then your verdict would be that Ms. Carrillo is guilty of depraved indifference murder, and you would return your verdict accordingly,” Justice Murray told jurors before they were excused from the room. 

Many of the reporters covering the case remained in the courtroom after the jury’s dismissal to ensure they are there when a verdict is returned. Deliberations could take anywhere from less than an hour to multiple days before a verdict is reached.

If convicted of depraved indifference murder, Sharon Carrillo faces 25 years to life in prison.


Erica Thoms can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com