BELFAST, ME (CNN) – A Maine mother will spend nearly 50 years in prison for her role in the death of her 10-year-old daughter.
By all accounts, Marissa Kennedy was a little girl who loved reading, going to school, and being a big sister.
But in February of 2018, prosecutors say her heart stopped beating after months of child abuse.
Marissa’s mother, Sharon Kennedy, and stepfather Julio Carrillo were convicted of murder. Carrillo pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 55 years behind bars.
As prosecutors pushed for a life sentence, Kennedy’s family pleaded for leniency.
“I have lost one person who brought many years of joy to my life. Now, I fear I am losing a second,” says Joe Kennedy, father of Sharon.
Joseph Kennedy told the judge she has the intellectual mind of a 12-year-old, and was also a victim of domestic violence at the hands of Carrillo.
“Sharon, who we firmly know loved Marissa, was mentally and physically abused by a predator. A predator that her family and friends did not see as the despicable monster he is.”
Justice Robert Murray sentenced Kennedy to 48 years in prison.
“In her own words, she said ‘we beat her to death. I should never have done it,” says Defense Attorney Laura Shaw. Shaw had asked for 25 years — the minimum sentence for murder.
She says Kennedy will be transferred to the women’s prison in Windham.