Sharon Carrillo lawyers file to suppress evidence, sever trials; claim torture at hands of husband

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 1:00pm

    BELFAST — The lawyers representing Sharon Carrillo have filed two motions with Waldo County Unified Court Feb. 8, including a Motion to Suppress Evidence, and a Motion to Sever Trial from the Trial of Julio Carrillo.

    In the Motion to Suppress Evidence Sharon Carrillo’s lawyers, Laura Shaw and Christopher K. MacLean, both of Camden Law, argue that the statements made by Sharon Carrillo to law enforcement Feb. 25, 2018, the day her daughter Marissa Kennedy was found dead, and her statements made the following day, cannot be considered voluntary and should, therefore, be suppressed. 

    The motion lists numerous reasons supporting the suppression of Sharon Carrillo’s statements, including:

    The document states that due to the nature of Marissa’s injuries, law enforcement immediately treated [Sharon and Julio Carrillo’s] home as a homicide crime scene, and that, “all questioning of [Sharon Carrillo] and her husband (Julio Carrillo) as the subjects of the homicide investigation.”

    Sharon Carrillo’s attorneys argue that none of the statements made to law enforcement Feb. 25-26, 2018 including the initial 9-1-1 call, “can be considered voluntary and therefore must be suppressed.”

    Additionally, Shaw and MacLean take issue with whether or not Sharon Carrillo could appreciate being Mirandized, writing: “although [Sharon Carrillo] was purportedly advised of her Miranda rights, any waiver of those rights purportedly made by [Sharon Carrillo] could not be considered knowing, intelligent, or voluntary.”

    Sharon Carrillo’s intelligence falls in the bottom two percent of the population, according to the motion, which also notes that in addition to “compromised reasoning, judgment, and problem-solving abilities, she was experiencing significant symptoms of depression, anxiety, and trauma at the time of the interrogations.”

    Extraordinary and unfathomable facts

    The document states that “through no fault of the Maine State Police detectives, extraordinary and unfathomable facts about the conditions of Sharon Carrillo’s life with Julio Carrillo were not known. The facts — and the evaluations that have now been completed — not only call into question the validity of [Sharon Carrillo’s] confession that she was ‘50 percent’ responsible for Marissa’s death but make such an assertion absurd and grotesque.”

    The document states Sharon Carrillo and Marissa Kennedy were both the victims of “severe domestic torture” by Julio Carrillo.

    The “torture” reportedly took the form of “extreme physical, sexual, and psychological abuse designed to cause physical and emotional agony.”  The abuse, attorneys wrote, was designed to break down Sharon Carrillo and Marissa Kennedy’s concept of reality and submitting “to a new reality created by Julio Carrillo.”

    There is photographic evidence of Sharon Carrillo and Marissa Kennedy being tortured, including an image described as “haunting” that shows the mother and daughter was found on Julio’s phone, according to documents.

    The document gives several examples of the torture reportedly inflicted on the mother and daughter, including acts that were initially attributed to both Sharon Carrillo and Julio Carrillo.

    There are also allegations of sexual abuse, with photographic evidence recovered by Maine State Police.

    In addition to physical abuse, it is alleged that Julio Carrillo “used extreme manipulation, deception, and isolation to reinforce his absolute control over [Sharon Carrillo].” 


    Interrogation tactics and Miranda rights

    The tactics used during Sharon Carrillo’s interrogation by detectives from the Maine State Police are also called into question in the motion, with her lawyers arguing “law enforcement officers engaged in impermissibly coercive and fundamentally unfair interrogation tactics, in violation of [Sharon Carrillo’s] due process protections….”

    Additionally, her intellectual limitations and situational factors and [Sharon Carrillo’s], “strong tendency to be misled and manipulated rendered her especially susceptible to the subtle, coercive interrogation tactics used by law enforcement” Feb. 25-26, 2018. “In consideration of the totality of these situational factors, [Sharon Carrillo’s] statements were not voluntary,” attorneys wrote.

    MacLean and Shaw argue that all evidence of statements made by [Sharon Carrillo] must be suppressed, and any derivative evidence gathered as a result of the illegally obtained statements must also be suppressed.”

    Motion to Sever

    In their Motion to Sever Sharon Carrillo’s Trial From the Trial of Julio Carrillo, the attorneys argued against the State’s request for a joint trial with a dual jury, to avoid any Bruton issues, stating that it is not appropriate in this case.

    MacLean and Shaw agree with the State of Maine in the decision that a consolidated trial in front of a single jury, but disagreed that using a dual jury would be a sufficient remedy to remediate Bruton issues. They wrote “Furthermore, the defenses to be presented by the co-defendants in this case are exceptionally antagonistic,” and that allowing each co-defendant to go forward in a joint trial would likely result in “significant prejudice to each co-defendant.”

    The next issue presented in the Motion to Sever is that: “Julio Carrillo subjected Sharon Carrillo to physical and psychological, and sexual torture and abuse. Forcing Sharon Carrillo to participate in a joint trial with Julio Carrillo would violate fundamental notions of due process and Sharon Carrillo’s right to a fair trial.”

    Exceptionally antagonistic defenses

    The document also revealed that in a January 19, 2019, proffer interview, Julio Carrillo reportedly recanted the initial story he told police and is now alleging that Sharon is responsible for causing and orchestrating the death of Marissa Kennedy. Julio Carrillo’s new story “casts himself largely as a victim and innocent bystander,” which Sharon Carrillo’s attorneys wrote, “only reinforces the difficulties inherent in a  joint trial.’

    In initial interviews after the discovery of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy, who died allegedly at the hands of both Sharon and Julio Carrillo, both claimed equal responsibility. Though Sharon and Julio Carrillo both initially claimed to be equal participants in the abuse in interviews the day of Marissa’s death, they have both since altered their stories, now pointing a finger squarely at the other.

    Also stated in the documents is that Julio Carrillo, “has decided to cooperate with the State.”

    He sat for a two-hour proffer with the Maine State Police on January 19, which took place at Two Bridges Regional Jail, where he and Sharon Carrillo have been housed since their arrest last year.

    In Sharon Carrillo’s Memorandum In Support of Her Motion to Sever Trial From the Trial of Julio Carrillo, Shaw and MacLean wrote that a significant prejudice would result if Sharon and Julio Carrillo were tried in a joint trial.

    They note that the defenses are expected to be exceptionally antagonistic given that evidence of Julio Carrillo’s abuse is expected to be admitted at trial, and to make up a large portion of Sharon Carrillo’s defense, which will “be to primarily lay the blame of Marissa’s death at Julio’s feet.”

    Sharon Carrillo reportedly expects at least 50 witnesses could be called to testify in this trial, potentially many more; witnesses MacLean and Shaw will likely be asking about Julio Carrillo’s alleged controlling and abusive nature.

    If that testimony cannot be admitted against Julio Carrillo, his jury would have to be excused for every single witness, which Sharon Carrillo’s lawyers say would cause significant delay and certainly be less efficient than simply holding two separate trials.

    “This is not simply a matter where there are inconsistencies in statements made by codefendants; rather, their defenses are likely to be in direct opposition to one another.”

    Both Carrillos are tentatively scheduled to go to trial in August.


    See also:

    Maine Legislature recommends three of five child abuse, protection bills ought to pass

    DHHS commissioner says LePage bill addresses questions, concerns about agency

    Mother, stepfather arrested following 10-year-old daughter's death in Stockton Springs 

    Mother, stepfather accused of murdering daughter to make first court appearance Wednesday 

    Bail set at $500k for mother, stepfather accused of murdering daughter 

    Sen. Thibodeau calls on Governor for investigation into DHHS following girl's murder 

    Searsport schools plan 'Dress Blue' day in remembrance of slain girl 

    Sen. Thibodeau issues statement following LePage remarks on murdered 10-year-old

    Update: State investigation into Marissa Kennedy's death to take place in two phases 

    Sharon, Julio Carrillo indicted for murder of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy

    Attorney for Sharon Carrillo seeks bail reduction, cites spousal abuse 

    Maine Children's Trust donations grow following Stockton Spring girl's death 

    Sharon Carrillo lawyer accuses state of deception

    Carrillos plead not guilty to charges of murdering 10-year-old

    Tensions run high in Waldo County Court as Sharon Carrillo lawyers argue to have prosecutors disqualified

    Carrillo prosecutors to remain on casejudge decides

    Maine Supreme Court to decide whether Sharon Carrillo prosecutors stay on case

    OPEGA returns phase one report into abuse deaths of two Maine children

    Gov. LePage steps in for Department of Health and Human Services at Augusta oversight hearing

    Government Oversight Committee issues subpoena for DHHHS Commissioner, LePage responds  

    Gov. LePage signs four of five proposed child welfare reform bills into law

    Prosecutors seek joint trial for Carrillos, with separate juries for each

    Erica Thoms can be reached at