The admitted killer of his 10-year-old stepdaughter will spend 55 years in prison for her murder, a judge ruled Wednesday, in a Belfast, Maine courtroom.
Julio Carrillo, 52, had pleaded guilty to the girl's repeated abuse, which he had admitted led to her death. He and the child's mother are accused of beating Marissa Kennedy and trying to make her death look like an accident in February 2018 in Stockton Springs.
The case brought about a subsequent investigation of Maine's child welfare system.
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"I hope one day Jesus Christ and you, Marissa, will forgive me," Carillo said.
He wept as he addressed the court, telling the judge that he was sorry.
His family spoke on Carillo's behalf, asking for mercy.
"My son is a good man," said Carmen Carrillo. "I love my son with every fiber of my soul. I am not embarrassed of him... if I was able to take his place in this instance, I would do it."
In an unexpected statement, Kennedy's grandfather, Joe Kennedy, asked the judge to impose a life sentence for Carrillo and said he "would trade my life with hers in a heartbeat."
A prosecutor said the child was "systematically tortured" over several months until her "heart gave out."
The state medical examiner's office concluded Marissa was victim of battered child syndrome with injuries including bleeding in the brain, a lacerated liver and "multiple old injuries." A state police affidavit indicated both Julio and Sharon Carrillo admitted to participating in the abuse.
Ultimately, the judge made a ruled 55 years as the appropriate sentence both because of the severity of the crime and Carillo's decision to plead guilty.
Outside the courtroom, Maine state prosecutors speaking to the media said they were "satisfied" with the sentence but pointed out it would have no impact on the upcoming trial of Sharon Carrillo, Julio's wife, who is also accused of murder.
"This case serves nothing in her case," Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea said.
Sharon Carrillo's defense attorneys had tried to get the judge to allow her to testify at Julio's sentencing or try to testify on her behalf. The judge rejected that request, though one of her attorney spoke to the media later on.
"I think she was hoping he would have received a life sentence, but 55 years is a significant sentence at his age," Laura Shaw said. "I think it's likely 55 years will essentially be a life sentence for Julio Carrillo."
Sharon Carrillo, 34, and her attorneys have maintained her innocence and since her husband's plea have said there is even more proof that he is the only person to blame for her death.
They have also claimed Sharon is the victim of Julio's manipulation and torture.
Julio Carrillo's attorney, Darrick Banda, said it's possible either the state or Sharon's attorneys could subpoena Julio at her trial.
"We're certainly going to make Julio available to assist the state in that endeavor, " said Banda, who also warned Sharon's attorneys their attempt to call Julio as a witness could "backfire."
Banda also said his team would be turning over their evidence to the state including a piece of it he described as "Marissa speaking from the grave."
Sharon Carrillo's trial is scheduled for December 2019.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.