Court hears appeal of mom convicted in 10-year-old's death
Posted November 17, 2020 3:39 p.m. EST
Updated November 17, 2020 3:40 p.m. EST
PORTLAND, Maine — The attorney for a woman convicted of murder in the death of her 10-year-old daughter told the state supreme court Tuesday that jurors weren't given proper guidance about how to treat testimony about domestic violence the defendant suffered at the hands of her husband.
Attorney Chris MacLean acknowledged presenting evidence that Sharon Kennedy was a victim of abuse, but said jurors weren't instructed on the legal concept of “duress” that she was experiencing at the time her daughter was being beaten and abused in 2018 in Stockton Springs.
Under Maine law, duress can be used as a defense to argue that someone was compelled to engage in criminal conduct “by threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury to that person or another person or because that person was compelled to do so by force,” the Bangor Daily News reported.
MacLean also argued that Kennedy’s confession should have been suppressed because of her intellectual disabilities and the domestic abuse, and that the judge erred in imposing the 48-year prison sentence.
Kennedy and her former husband, Julio Carrillo, were both convicted of murder for beatings that led to the death of Marissa Kennedy. Carrillo is serving a 55-year sentence.
Marissa Kennedy's death was one of two murders that exposed gaps in Maine’s child welfare system and led to widespread reforms in the way the state seeks to protect vulnerable children.