By Associated Press - Friday, December 13, 2019

BELFAST, Maine (AP) - A Maine man serving a 55-year prison sentence for the death of his stepdaughter pleaded the Fifth Amendment on Friday in the trial of his estranged wife, who’s also charged in the fatal beating.

Julio Carrillo declined to answer any questions from defense attorneys, citing his constitutional right to avoid self-incriminating statements.

Sharon Carrillo’s attorneys contend Julio Carrillo abused both her and her daughter, 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy, and that he inflicted the fatal injuries on the girl in February 2018 in Stockton Springs.

Sharon Carrillo’s stepmother, Roseanne Kennedy, testified Sharon Carrillo didn’t say her first word until she was nearly 5 and was diagnosed with learning disabilities.

Kennedy testified that Julio Carrillo had his wife and stepdaughter under his control, with both seeking his approval before doing anything, WABI-TV reports. She said Sharon Carrillo lost her identity and became a robot who did her husband’s bidding.

Julio Carrillo pleaded guilty to murder in the death of Marissa, but prosecutors say Sharon Carrillo is just as guilty.

Sharon Carrillo acknowledged to police that she took part in the beatings, but her defense team contends it was a false confession from someone who’d suffered abuse and suffered from an extremely low IQ.

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