BELFAST — A former member of the Bangor Police Department and current deputy at the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office was the first witness called to the stand in day seven of the Sharon Carrillo trial, currently being heard in Waldo County Superior Court.
Prosecutors were first to present their case against Sharon Carrillo, presenting the jury with the four interviews conducted with Sharon, as well as photos of Marissa’s abuse and autopsy. The State rested it’s case late last week, with Sharon’s defense attorneys beginning their case late Friday afternoon.
Daniel Perez, who worked with BPD during the time the Carrillos resided in Bangor, said he was called to their residence there because of a reported runaway. When Perez arrived at the residence, Marissa Kennedy had already returned, was upset and didn’t want to speak with him.
According to Perez, Julio told him that he was going to take Marissa to the hospital to be evaluated. Despite Sharon being present at the time she did not tell him that either her or Marissa being abused.
Jill Reid, who was a housekeeper for the apartments where the Carrillo’s lived while in Bangor, was next called to the stand. Reid told jurors that she made reports to both Bangor PD and the Department of Health and Human Services after becoming concerned about what she heard coming from the Carrillo apartment.
When asked by defense attorney Chris MacLean about what specifically she heard from the home, Reid said she heard “a lot of hollering,” and what sounded like domestic violence. Reid also noted that all the neighboring tenants were talking about the Carrillos.
Reid said she was prompted to call BPD when she heard “girls hollering at each other,” and Julio telling Sharon “not to speak.” She also heard Sharon say to Julio, “you’re making me sit here and suffer.” Reid said she went to the police station to report the situation and express urgency.
When asked why she called the police, Reid said she believed Marissa was in danger.
Under cross-examination, Reid told Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber that she noticed the Carrillos the day they pulled in with New York plates. Reid said she saw the family exit the car, with Julio and Marissa Kennedy standing by a dumpster while Sharon went into the house. Reid said Sharon returned with a big stuffed animal which was then thrown into the dumpster. Reid said that Marissa did not really react and that she didn’t hear Sharon say anything.
Daniel Whitney, another Bangor neighbor of the Carrillos, also testified that he was able to hear what was going on in the Carrillo house through pipes. Whitney, who described Marissa as a “frail child,” said on the day they moved in the Carrillos had caught his attention.
Whitney said he and his wife were inside their apartment but had the window open as it was summertime. Whitney said he heard Julio tell his wife, “you’re stupid or worthless or something like that. Something very unpleasant,” Whitney said.
According to Whitney, he saw Sharon and Carrillo when they would leave the apartment to wait for Marissa’s school bus. When MacLean asked Reid to describe what he saw, he said Marissa had a blank look on her face, “no expression, just blank.” Whitney said Sharon looked the same way her daughter did.
Whitney also testified that he had heard Julio tell someone in the house, “I’m gonna cut you into little pieces and send you to the hospital.” Though Whitney couldn’t recall a date when the threat was overheard, he “heard so many things it became common. “Terrible,” said. Whitney said he also heard Julio tell Sharon she was an unfit mother and he was going to turn her into the state.
During cross-examination, Whitney said he never saw bruises on Sharon’s face and that he had never actually witnessed Julio being physically abusive to Sharon.
Dillon Moody, who worked with Julio during the several months Julio worked at Tozier’s Market in Searsport, recounted for the court that Julio had come into the store and said Marissa died months before her actual death.
Moody said prior to Julio coming into work and saying Marissa died, he had told coworkers he had problems with the child and that she was in and out of Acadia Hospital. Moody also stated Julio had previously told him that Marissa would “beat her head against a wall.” That was the reason he used when he later told coworkers that Marissa died.
When asked whether he ever saw Sharon around the store Moody said that Sharon would come in every once and a while with her two younger children, though Marissa never joined them. Instead, Moody said he would see Marissa hanging around the store on occasion, waiting for Julio. Moody said sometimes Marissa would sit in the parking lot in a car for two or three hours waiting for Julio.
Under cross-examination, Moody said he never heard Sharon say she was being abused. “I never heard her say anything,” Moody said to AAG Macomber. Moody also said he didn’t know Marissa was alive until Julio came in to report she had died.
Julio’s manager at Tozier’s, Lori Brassbridge, also recounted for the jury how Julio had come to work and reported Marissa’s death months before she actually died. Brassbridge said that on multiple occasions Julio said he was having difficulties with Marissa, that she was in and out of Sweetser and was hurting herself by hitting her head against a wall.
Brassbridge said Julio told her Marissa had passed away, though he did not specify how and she did not ask. Brassbridge said everyone at Tozier’s was sympathetic, with the store gathering food for the family, and employees raising money for the family, noting the store “grieved with [Julio].” Brassbridge said that Julio was crying when he reported the death.
Julio would also call out on occasion, using Marissa’s invented death as an excuse. Marissa’s birthday, Oct. 29, 2017, was one time Julio called out, saying he was having a tough time because it was the girl’s birthday and he was remembering her when she was alive.
Brassbridge also told jurors that Sharon was often there when Julio was working and that Sharon would wander the aisles with her two younger children for two or three hours before ultimately purchasing an item or two.
Under cross-examination by AAG Macomber, Brassbridge said that she’d never seen bruises on Sharon’s face and that Sharon was nonchalant as she walked around the store for hours drinking coffee.
One of the Sweetser counselors who worked with Marissa was the next to take the stand. Daniella Macleod, a licensed counselor, recalled that Marissa stayed on the stabilization unit for roughly a month in early October 2017. Macleod said she saw Marissa on the unit Monday thru Friday and recalled her as “Kind. Creative. Just a sweet little girl.” Macleod also said she never saw any signs of aggression or self injurious behavior from Marissa during her time on the unit, saying she grew fond of Marissa during her time there.
Macleod said that when she met with Sharon and Julio, though both would be present, Julio did “90 percent of the talking.”
Macleod said Julio reported multiple issues he was having with Marissa, including that she was oppositional, defiant aggressive, and that Marissa had suicidal ideation, and that Marissa had many tantrums, hitting, kicking, screaming, “when she didn’t get her way, was his wording,” Macleod said. Macleod said none of this was observed over Marissa’s month stay at Sweetser.
Under cross-examination, Macleod said that they were working on with Marissa with some of her triggers.
Macleod also told jurors that at no time did Sharon tell anyone what was happening on the home, nor did she disclose violence in the home when asked specifically on one of the forms Sharon filled out. Macleod also said Marissa never reported violence in the home, nor did she admit abuse when questioned.
Dr. Amy Barrett, a pediatrician at EMMC, was next to testify for jurors. Barrett began treating Marissa in October 2016, seeing her a total of five times between then and Marissa’s last visit in July 2017. Barrett said typically the whole Carrillo family would attend Marissa’s appointments, though Julio had brought her alone once. Barett said that Marissa tended to be pretty quiet and that Julio did the majority of the talking unless Sharon or Marissa were being addressed directly.
Marissa’s visits to Dr. Barrett were almost all a follow-up to a preceding crisis appointment. Barrett said Julio did most of the talking during the appointments, reporting that Marissa was engaging in self-harming behavior, including pinching and scratching herself.
Julio said Marissa would yell and scream during these out of control episodes, and that Sharon was afraid of Marisssa. Julio also reportedly told Dr. Barrett in later visits that Marissa was witnessing Sharon have out of control tantrums, and that Marissa was mimicking that behavior. According to Julio, Marissa was difficult to control and he and Sharon did not feel she was safe to be around them or the other children in the home.
“I’m just scared for the kids right now,” Julio is reported to have told hospital staff.
Barett told jurors that she called DHHS multiple times to report concerns of medical neglect, including failing to engage in or establish home services in an effort to help Marissa, despite being agreed to.
During her testimony, Barrett read from a number of medical records from various places that Marissa had been treated.
On one occasion, when a counselor asked Marissa to go to her office to talk, Marissa initially declined but agreed once there was mention of playing games.
It was reported that Julio was upset by this and accused the counselor of tricking Marissa into going to the room. Julio reportedly yelled to staff on his way out of the hospital that he would not take Marissa back there. The notes reported that Marissa looked like she might cry prior to leaving with Julio.
Notes from Sweetser and Acadia were also read by Dr. Barrett, who used the records to inform her treatment of Marissa. The same behaviors are reported by Julio Carrillo in most of the reports, including allegations Marissa was out of control, self-injurious, a danger to others, and having suicidal ideation many times during the totality of the reports. None of the reports stated that Marissa engaged in any of the alleged activity during her multiple visits to doctors or hospitals, or during her stays at Sweetser and Acadia.
When cross-examined by AAG Leane Zainea, Barrett said she did not read daily reports from Marissa’s inpatient treatment stays, just notes from clinicians. Barrett also stated that none of the notes state Marissa or Sharon never told medical professionals that they were being abused, nor did she ever witness bruises on either.
The day was cut short for jurors, just before 2 p.m. after attorneys for Sharon and attorney’s for the State discussed the potential admission of certain evidence. Justice Robert Murray said he anticipated the discussion would continue into the afternoon before adjourning court for the day.
The trial of Sharon Carrillo will continue Tuesday at 9 a.m.
Erica Thoms can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org