Julio Carrillo during his initial court appearance at the Waldo County Superior Court. Credit: Gabor Degre | BDN

The mother and stepfather accused of beating 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy to death last year will make an appearance in a Belfast courtroom Thursday morning.

Sharon Carrillo, 34, Marissa’s mother, and Julio Carrillo, 52, her stepfather, are scheduled to appear at the Waldo Judicial Center at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday for a hearing on motions filed by Sharon Carrillo’s attorneys earlier this year.

Sharon Carrillo’s defense team is seeking to separate her trial from that of Julio Carrillo, alleging that Sharon Carrillo suffered abuse at the hands of her husband and was a victim herself. Her lawyers are also asking the court to suppress statements Sharon Carrillo made to investigators in the days after Marissa was found dead in their Stockton Springs home in February 2018.

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Sharon and Julio Carrillo were both charged with murder following Marissa’s death last February. The child allegedly suffered months of physical abuse leading up to her death. The couple pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been awaiting trial in jail since their arrest.

It is not clear if Justice Robert Murray will decide Thursday on whether or not the couple should be tried together later this year, or if the statements Sharon Carrillo made to investigators shortly after her daughter’s death will be admissible at trial.

Court documents filed by Sharon Carrillo’s attorneys in February contained new details that described a disturbing scene of alleged abuse inflicted on Sharon and Marissa by Julio Carrillo.

Credit: Gabor Degre | BDN

According to the documents, “Julio Carrillo would physically force [Sharon and Marissa] to strip naked and kneel together on the floor of their home. He would 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,” which caused “excruciating” pain.

The court document goes on to describe that Julio sexually assaulted the woman and child. A cellphone photo, allegedly recovered by police, illustrates this scene, the filing states. Marissa appears to be 10 years old in the photo and her mother is visibly pregnant, according to the court filing.

[Marissa Kennedy’s mother seeks to have marriage annulled]

In January, Sharon Carrillo sought to have her marriage to Julio Carrillo annulled but a hearing on the annulment was postponed.

Last May, Sharon Carrillo gave birth to a son while she was in custody at Two Bridges Regional Jail. The boy was the couple’s third child together. Their two sons — Luis and Emmie — were ages 1 and 2 when the Carrillos were arrested. Julio’s parents, Julio Carrillo Sr. and Carmen Carrillo, have received court approval to become foster parents for all three children, including newborn Nicholas, said Julio Carrillo’s lawyer, Darrick X. Banda of Augusta.

Prosecutors have called for the Carrillos to be tried together, arguing it would be more efficient. Banda has said Julio also wants a joint trial.

Messages left this week for the couple’s lawyers were not returned.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.