Sharon Carrillo cries while Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber delivers his opening statement in Carrillo’s murder trial Friday in Waldo County Superior Court. On Tuesday, jurors heard recordings of police interviews with Carrillo in which she said she severely beat her 10-year-old daughter. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

BELFAST — Jurors on Tuesday heard police recordings of Sharon Carrillo admitting to severely beating her 10-year-old daughter, Marissa Kennedy, with her husband over a period of months, exclaiming at one point that “I didn’t mean to hurt her, to kill her.”

“I should have stopped, I should have stopped,” Carrillo is heard saying through tears, repeating the phrase five times.

“Why didn’t you?” a detective asked Carrillo.

“I don’t know,” she responded, sobbing.

Marissa Kennedy

State prosecutors played that emotional interview during the third day of Carrillo’s trial on a murder charge, as well as a videotaped walk-through they conducted with Carrillo at the Stockton Springs condominium where Marissa died in February 2018. Attorneys defending Carrillo argue she never actually participated in the beatings, despite the recordings, and was herself a victim of husband Julio Carrillo’s abuse.

Sharon Carrillo’s statements to police shed additional light on Marissa’s final, pain-filled days as she lost her ability to walk or speak clearly because of injuries that prosecutors contend were inflicted by her mother and stepfather. But Sharon and Julio Carrillo suspected Marissa was faking and, on the day before she died, even read a “To whom it may concern” letter to the girl in which Sharon Carrillo said she wanted to relinquish custody of her daughter.

Sharon Carrillo also told police the couple fabricated a story to frame her injuries as an accident or another example of the 10-year-old harming herself and didn’t seek medical help until blood began coming from Marissa’s nose and mouth.

“I was scared that they were going to take the other two kids away from us and take us somewhere,” Carrillo said.

Maine State Police detectives recorded the confessions a few hours after Carrillo had admitted to occasionally spanking Marissa but denied severely abusing the girl before her death from what the state Medical Examiner’s Office determined was “battered child syndrome.”

But in the second interview, Carrillo gradually admitted – in response to persistent prodding by detectives – to participating in the beatings after being informed that her husband, Julio Carrillo, had already implicated them both.

“It just got out of hand,” Sharon Carrillo repeated back to detectives interviewing her on the night of Feb. 25, 2018, hours after the couple called 911 to report that Marissa was unresponsive.

However, Carrillo’s defense attorneys are expected to question the truthfulness of those confessions, describing their client as a domestic abuse victim whose fear of her husband and low intellect made her susceptible to making false statements. Julio Carrillo already has pleaded guilty to murder and is serving a 55-year prison sentence.

Marissa’s death, along with the abuse-related death of a Wiscasset child just months earlier, sparked more than a year of close scrutiny of Maine’s child welfare services as well as ongoing reforms. Subsequent investigations revealed flaws in the system, poor communication between agencies and missed opportunities to potentially intervene in the girls’ cases.

State prosecutors used Tuesday afternoon’s court session to meticulously lay out the evidence-collection and testing process that occurred in the hours, days and weeks after Marissa’s death. But it was the audio and video recordings of Sharon Carrillo that provided additional details about the savage abuse that the 10-year-old endured in the final months of her life.

Sometimes sobbing and other times calmly recounting events, Sharon Carrillo is heard telling detectives that Marissa’s punishments grew increasingly severe because “we couldn’t handle her anymore” as the girl reportedly acted out.

Carrillo said her husband struck Marissa so hard with a mop handle that it broke, and the girl periodically fell over from her kneeling position because of the force of the beatings. Carrillo said that she would often strike her daughter with a belt as many as 15 times on each side and “chop” her karate-style in the ribs, and that her husband kicked her in the abdomen.

Carrillo also alleged at several times during her interviews with police – which often included contradictory statements – that her stepmother in New York had suggested having Marissa kneel on the floor and other punishments as a way to try to get her to behave.

Post-mortem pictures shown to jurors on the first day of the trial showed severe purple bruising and swelling across Marissa’s abdomen as well as a large bruise on her forehead. Marissa also had deep, unhealed wounds on her knees reportedly from being forced to kneel on a tile floor for punishments.

“She didn’t deserve to get beaten to death,” Carrillo said at one point.

Both Sharon and Julio Carrillo were unemployed at the time, living for free at a Stockton Springs condominium owned by Sharon’s father, who lived in New York. But the couple were facing potential eviction and planning to move into a Rockland family shelter because of repeated noise complaints about fighting and arguing.

In the days before Marissa’s death, Julio Carrillo reportedly read the “To whom it may concern” letter written by Sharon Carrillo in which she opts to relinquish custody of her daughter. Detectives found the letter still on the Carrillos’ kitchen counter.

Sharon Carrillo also described how she and her husband came up with a story about Marissa harming herself while she was alone in the basement the night before she died.

At the time, Marissa had apparently been unable to walk by herself and was losing the ability to speak for several days. A social worker who visited the home two days before Marissa’s death testified Monday that Marissa fell asleep on her mother. The social worker also noticed bruising on Marissa’s face and was told by the parents it was a result of the girl purposely hitting her head against the wall.

As jurors intently listened to the audiotape and read a transcript on Tuesday, Carrillo often buried her face in her hands or wiped away tears.

Later in the morning, prosecutors with the Maine Attorney General’s Office played a video recording – recorded the day after Marissa’s death – of Sharon Carrillo calmly walking state police detectives through the condominium.

In the video, she points to the specific location of tile flooring where Marissa was repeatedly forced to kneel with her hands above her head to receive punishment. As a detective knelt on the tiles, Carrillo imitated how she or her husband would strike her daughter with a belt or their hands.

She also showed detectives the location in a closet where they kept the belt that she said they used on her daughter. On the day before she died, Marissa “tried to say one word to us, but we couldn’t understand anything she was saying,” Carrillo said in the audiotape.

Marissa did not speak at all on the Sunday that she died, Carrillo told police during the videotaped walk-through.

Carrillo faces 25 years to life in prison on a charge of depraved indifference murder.

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