Defense lawyers for Sharon Carrillo, the mother charged with murder in the death of her daughter Marissa Kennedy, filed a motion to suppress evidence Friday.
They're accusing Julio Carrillo, also facing a murder charge, with severely torturing Sharon and Marissa prior to the 10-year-old's death, thus influencing Sharon's reasoning and judgement when questioned by law enforcement.
Marissa Kennedy was found dead last February in Stockton Springs. Her parents, Sharon and Julio Carrillo, were both charged in the homicide.
According to the filing, Sharon Carrillo's lawyers believe she and her daughter were the victims of extreme physical, sexual and psychological abuse "designed to cause physical and emotional agony." They claim Julio Carrillo used "extreme manipulation, deception, and isolation" to control Sharon.
The torture took many forms and was "designed to, and had the effect of, breaking down" Sharon Carrillo and Marissa's conception of reality, the lawyers claim, which in turn calls into question the validity of Sharon's confession that she was "50 percent" responsible for Marissa's death, therefore presenting a case for reconsidering her statements to police.
Sharon Carrillo's lawyers, citing a 2000 court case and the Maine Constitution, claim no statements made to law enforcement between Feb. 25-26 and the 911 call should be considered voluntary and consequently must be suppressed.
They say Sharon Carrillo's intelligence falls in the bottom 2 percent of the population, compromisng her ability to reason, judge and problem solve. This, in addition to the alleged abuse, influenced the questioning process, they claim.
Miranda rights were read to Sharon Carrillo, the lawyers admit, but they don't believe any waiver of those rights made by their defendant at the time could've been done in a "knowing, intelligent, or involuntary" manner.
Following Sharon Carrillo's statements made to police in February 2018, lawyers say state police gained access to Julio Carrillo's personal cell phone and found "many disturbing photos," one of which was "haunting" and "depicted the sadistic torture of [Sharon] and [Marissa] together — a photo, the lawyers claim, could only have been taken by Carrillo himself and "preserved in his phone to enjoy just as anyone might keep cherished images of loved ones."
According to the filing, the lawyers claim that in one instance Julio Carrillo would physically force Sharon Carrillo and Marissa "to strip naked and kneel together on the floor of their home" and "force them to hold their arms in the air and threaten to beat them with his hands and other objects if they lowered their arms," causing physical agony in their knees and shoulders.
The aforementioned photo captures one such scene, the lawyers' filing claims, in which Julio Carrillo "would sexually assault [Sharon] and Marissa by standing above them using his bare foot and toes [redacted]." The filing states Marissa appears to be 10 years old in the photo and Carrillo is visibly pregnant.
Lawyers say that on Feb. 25, 2018, Julio Carrillo instructed Sharon to tell detectives that they shared "50/50 responsibility" for Marissa's death.
According to the filing, between the joint questioning of Sharon and Julio Carrillo, state police detectives left a recording device in the room to capture any conversation. A subsequent transcript of the interview lawyers claim to have obtained states that Julio Carrillo instructed Sharon that if they did not "stand together" he was "going to get in more trouble."
Sharon Carrillo's lawyers also accuse one detective of being "impermissibly coercive" and "fundamentally unfair," separate from her waiver of rights, when he allegedly told Sharon Carrillo that her husband did an "excellent job of being honest" and suggested she "stop lying" and be honest "like Julio."
The filing states that Sharon Carrillo was evaluated by a Maine State Forensic Service doctor who specializes in psychological examinations. According to her lawyers, the doctor agreed with the defense in that Sharon's response style is "both common in individuals with intellectual limitations, and has been shown to be related to an increased risk of falsely confessing."
The defense listed the following incidents in which Sharon Carrillo gave "illegally obtained" statements, therefore worthy of suppression:
- Feb. 25: 911 call
- Feb. 25: Waldo County sheriff corporal and two deputies
- Feb. 25: Waldo County deputy and two Maine State Police detectives from inside her home
- Feb. 25: Two-hour questioning led by two MSP detectives
- Feb. 25: One-hour questioning by two MSP detectives
- Feb. 25: Introduction to DHHS child protective caseworker by two MSP detectives
- Feb. 25: Collection of evidence to three MSP detectives
- Feb. 26: 20-minute car ride from the town office to her home with a MSP detective
- Feb. 26: In her driveway to MSP detective and during husband's 10-minute walkthrough; also her own walkthrough
- Feb. 26: One-hour car ride from her home to Bangor shelter with MSP detective
- Feb. 26: Phone call with MSP detective
- Feb. 26: Three-hour questioning by MSP detective at MSP Bangor
- Feb. 26: One-hour car ride from MSP Bangor to Waldo County holding facility with MSP detective
Here's the full court filing from Sharon Carrillo's lawyers: