Julio Carrillo will plead guilty to murder in the death of his 10-year-old stepdaughter.

Maine Attorney General’s Office spokesman Marc Malon confirmed Monday that the office’s Criminal Division was notified of Carrillo’s plea change. Malon said the state will seek a life sentence for Carrillo.

In a separate development Monday, an attorney for Carrillo’s wife said he plans to ask the Attorney General’s Office to drop the murder charge against his client once Carrillo pleads guilty.

Marissa Kennedy

Carrillo, 52, and his wife, Sharon Carrillo, 34, of Stockton Springs are both charged with depraved indifference murder in the death of her daughter, 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy, on  Feb. 25, 2018.

They are accused of beating the girl regularly in the months before her death as well as the day she died in their Stockton Springs condominium. Prosecutors say that Marissa suffered months of physical abuse leading up to her death.

Julio Carrillo’s attorney, Darrick Banda of Augusta, said his client will enter a guilty plea on July 22 at the Waldo County Judicial Center in Belfast. He also rejected the notion that his client’s plea absolved Sharon Carrillo of responsibility for her daughter’s death.

“Sharon will almost certainly stand trial. His plea is about accepting responsibility for his own actions. It is in no way an exoneration of Sharon Carrillo,” Banda said in an email Monday night after learning that Sharon Carrillo’s attorney would seek to have the charge against her dismissed.

Sharon Carrillo admitted in May during a motion to suppress hearing in Belfast that she was not completely honest with police about the circumstances of her daughter’s death, saying she was afraid her husband would harm her if she told the truth. At that court hearing, evidence was presented that showed a photograph of Sharon and her daughter kneeling naked with their arms above their heads.

The photo was taken inside the couple’s Stockton Springs home, presumably by her husband.

“Unfortunately, Sharon, assisted by her attorney, will continue to try and deflect blame for Marissa’s death,” Banda wrote. “But the court easily saw through the smokescreen at the conclusion of the motion to suppress hearing, finding her testimony not credible. We are certain the jury will also easily see through her lies and find her guilty.”

The couple were scheduled to have separate trials, with Julio Carrillo’s due to begin in August. Sharon Carrillo, whose trial is scheduled to begin in December, is represented by attorney Christopher MacLean of Camden.

An attorney for Sharon Carrillo, shown last year, says that if Julio Carrillo pleads guilty in the killing of Marissa Kennedy, the attorney will ask that charges be dropped against Sharon Carrillo. David Leaming/Morning Sentinel

Sharon Carrillo has sought to annul her marriage to Julio Carrillo, alleging that he was married to at least one other woman when they wed.

Contacted Monday, MacLean said he is not surprised that Julio Carrillo has decided to plead guilty.

MacLean and his co-counsel, Laura Shaw, have consistently alleged that Julio Carrillo abused and tortured his wife and stepdaughter.

In one court filing from February, MacLean and Shaw say that, “The torture took the form of extreme physical, sexual and psychological abuse designed to cause physical and emotional agony.”

“It’s not surprising to us that he will plead guilty because that is what the evidence suggests,” MacLean said in a phone interview Monday. “Sharon Carrillo was the victim of extreme domestic violence and torture.”

Marissa Kennedy’s death was one of two over the span of several months that led to increased scrutiny of Maine’s child protective services. In both cases, warning signs of abuse or neglect appeared to have been missed or ignored.

A 2018 investigation by the Portland Press Herald found that Department of Health and Human Service caseworkers charged with protecting Maine children from abuse and neglect felt as though they were not being heard when they raised concerns about not having the resources to help children at risk.

MacLean said that if Julio Carrillo follows through with his intentions to plead guilty, he will ask state prosecutors Donald Macomber and Leane Zainea to drop the murder charges against Sharon Carrillo.

Jury selection in her trial is scheduled to begin in early December, MacLean said.

“I’m hopeful that with the conviction of Julio the state will reconsider the murder charges against Sharon,” he said. “We will be approaching the state to ask them to dismiss the charges against her.”

MacLean said he understands that the death of Marissa Kennedy is very sad and emotionally charged, but added that “it’s very clear that Julio was orchestrating what happened to her.”

A judge could sentence Julio Carrillo to a minimum of 25 years to life in prison without parole.

 

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