By Associated Press - Thursday, August 29, 2019

BELFAST, Maine (AP) - A man sentenced to 55 years for the beating death of his 10-year-old stepdaughter is expected to cooperate with prosecutors ahead of the trial of the child’s mother, his attorney said.

Attention now turns to Sharon Carrillo after Julio Carrillo pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced on Wednesday.

Sharon Carrillo contends her estranged husband was responsible for her daughter Marissa Kennedy’s injuries. But the state says both participated in the abuse, and she’s due to stand trial in December.

Julio Carrillo’s attorney, Darrick Banda, said he expects his client will testify at her trial and will cooperate with prosecutors.

He also hinted at new evidence that could be important in the upcoming trial, the Bangor Daily news reported. “It’s like Marissa’s speaking from the grave,” he said, declining to give further details.

The state medical examiner’s office concluded Marissa was victim of battered child syndrome and suffered numerous injuries before her death in February 2018 in the Carrillo home in Stockton Springs.

Sharon Carrillo, who contends both she and Marissa were victims of abuse, didn’t attend her estranged husband’s sentencing, and the judge declined to allow a statement she wrote to be read aloud during the hearing.

Her lawyer, Laura Shaw said the statement was intended to communicate Sharon Carrillo’s grief. “The sentiments expressed were really just regarding the pain that Julio caused her, and the fact that she’ll be thinking about her daughter’s death every single day for the rest of her life,” Shaw said.

The deaths of Marissa and another girl, 4-year-old Kendall Chick, led to increased scrutiny of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. In both cases, warning signs of abuse and neglect appeared to have been missed or ignored.

The state boosted funding for caseworkers and changed how the state tackles investigations into alleged child abuse.

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