BELFAST – Just before Monday’s scheduled competency hearing for accused murderer Sharon Carrillo, the judge overseeing the case made two decisions.
The first was to deny the state’s request to show a photo of the bruised and beaten body of the victim — 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy — during opening statements.
The second was to allow the lawyers for the girl’s mother to use domestic violence in their defense.
“I cannot say as a matter of the law of the case, that the topic can be precluded as a whole at this point in time,” said Justice Robert Murray. “Nor can I, at this point, render a decision as to what specific items of domestic violence-related evidence will be admissible at this time.”
Psychologist Dr. Sarah Miller testified during Carrillo’s suppression hearing in May that she was a victim of domestic violence.
Miller said Carrillo’s physical abuse “included hitting, slapping, pulling her hair, choking her, hitting her in the stomach while she was pregnant.”
Carillo’s defense team says her husband abused her physically, emotionally and sexually to control her.
One of the prosecutors of the state said the subjects are separate.
“The whole issue of domestic violence, in this case, is a side issue,” said Don Macomber, Assistant Attorney General who is prosecuting the case with Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea. “This is the trial of the state of Maine against Sharon Carrillo where we have to prove that she engaged in conduct against Marissa Kennedy.”
Kennedy, the oldest of Carrillo’s four children, died in February 2018 in Stockton Springs after months of daily beatings, the medical examiner determined.
Her husband, Julio Carrillo, admitted to the crime earlier this year and is currently serving a 55-year prison sentence for murder.
Justice Murray also has the job of determining if Sharon Carrillo is competent to stand trial. He will do so based on reports by Miller, who is the director of the State Forensic Service, and two other doctors.
Jury selection is scheduled to start Wednesday and the trial is tentatively set to begin Friday.