The woman accused of killing her 10-year-old daughter in Stockton Springs has significant intellectual disabilities that call into question her alleged role in the girl’s beating death and the validity of admissions she allegedly made to police, the woman’s lawyer said Monday.

Christopher MacLean, the Camden-based attorney appointed to represent Sharon Carrillo, 33, said Monday that his client’s family members have told him that Carrillo has been diagnosed with intellectual disabilities since she was a child and had attended special schools. MacLean has not seen any documentation supporting what they described.

Sharon Carrillo’s attorney said she is “she is someone who is particularly susceptible to control and influence in domestic violence situations.”

Sharon Carrillo and her husband, Julio Carrillo, 51, were charged with depraved indifference murder after Marissa Kennedy was found dead in the Stockton Springs condominium where they were living with their two other children. Julio Carrillo was Marissa’s stepfather.

“The operating theory that I have is Sharon did not actually participate in the abuse of Marissa,” MacLean said. “The facts that are starting to get generated are painting a very different picture of what happened and why some things were said to police, and it has everything to do with Julio orchestrating a fiction about what really happened.”

The Maine Attorney General’s Office, which is prosecuting the case, declined to comment Monday.

MacLean said he spoke with Sharon Carrillo over the weekend at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset. Her client still bears bruises from where Julio Carrillo last beat her, MacLean said, and he collected photos of the bruises. She also is seven months pregnant with their third child, according to her husband’s attorney, Steven Peterson of Rockport.


Neither husband nor wife has a criminal record in Maine, but according to a prosecutor, Julio Carrillo was convicted of a domestic violence assault charge in Kentucky in 2000.

MacLean said information about Sharon Carrillo’s mental capacity was revealed after he spoke with multiple family members, including Sharon Carrillo’s father, Joe Kennedy, who described Sharon’s disability.

“That suggests to me she is someone who is particularly susceptible to control and influence in domestic violence situations,” MacLean said.

He said people with cognitive impairments or intellectual disabilities are “susceptible to endorsing things in custodial interrogations.”

“That is new information that could cast any admissions she made in police interviews in an entirely different light,” he said.

MacLean said he has yet to receive documents and materials from prosecutors detailing the evidence gathered by police, including the tape-recorded interview that the Carrillos gave to police in which they both admitted to severely beating Marissa since October before she succumbed to her injuries Feb. 25.


MacLean said that after he receives the discovery information from prosecutors, he plans to file a motion in court requesting a re-evaluation of Sharon Carrillo’s $500,000 bail, and may also seek to challenge the murder charge against her.

“I think that things are not as they originally appeared,” he said.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that Marissa Kennedy, 10, died of battered child syndrome.

According to a police affidavit filed in Waldo County District Court, police allege that the Carrillos beat Marissa every day from October until her death using a leather belt, their fists, and in one case, a metal mop handle, which Julio Carrillo broke against the girl’s ribs.

When the girl awoke recently and could not walk or talk without slurring her speech, Julio Carrillo told investigators that Sharon Carrillo beat the girl one more time because she believed Marissa was pretending to be injured.

The next day, Marissa was unresponsive. Police said the Carrillos then hatched a plan to make Marissa’s death look like an accident. They carried her body to a basement boiler room and left her on the concrete.

Police said Julio Carrillo tipped over a few chairs and a toolbox to stage the scene. A few hours later, he retrieved the girl and called 911, claiming she apparently injured herself while playing in the basement.


Police said both Julio and Sharon Carrillo admitted to beating Marissa, according to the affidavit.

Since their arrest, the Carrillos’ case has brought renewed scrutiny to the state systems in place to prevent abuse and neglect of children.

Julio Carrillo

Before living in Stockton Springs, the Carrillos rented an apartment in Bangor on Main Street, where neighbors reported calling police multiple times to report arguments and suspected domestic violence.

Bangor police were called by someone in their apartment half-a-dozen times, they said, and at no time did officers witness anything that led them to believe Marissa or her two siblings, ages 1 and 2, were in a dangerous or unhealthy environment.

So far, little is known about the history of the Carrillos, when and where they were married, who Marissa’s father is or what brought them to Maine.

Peterson, Julio Carrillo’s attorney, previously said the couple moved to Maine from Kentucky via New York state.


Court records also indicate that shortly before their arrest, the family of five was struggling. Sharon Carrillo was not working, the family received food stamps and other benefits to help feed the children, and Julio Carrillo worked part time at Ocean State Job Lot earning $9 an hour.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

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