Live testimony resumes today in the murder trial of Michael P. McCarthy. He’s accused of murdering his girlfriend’s two-year-old child, hiding the little girl’s body in a fridge, and then dumping the her body in Boston Harbor. A passer-by walking a dog eventually found the badly decomposed body of the girl, whom authorities struggled to identify.
She was at first known as “Baby Doe” on billboards and posters. Later, Michael Sprinsky, a lifelong friend of the defendant’s, made the connection: Baby Doe was really Bella Bond. He testified that Rachelle Bond, the girl’s mother, told him that the defendant murdered Bella. McCarthy and Rachelle Bond were living together at the time.
Rachelle Bond, Bella’s mother, remained on the stand all day on Monday. Her testimony began on Friday last week and continues into its third day today.
Defense Attorney Jonathan Shapiro accused Rachelle Bond of fearing that Bella’s father, Joseph Amoroso, would petition social services investigators to intervene in Bella’s care, just as he and his family had done before. He accused Bond of being fearful of reporting Bella’s death for fear she’d be blamed.
Shapiro also needled Rachelle Bond over “getting away” with Bella’s death.
Bond testified on cross examination that she ran from police when they approached her home. She said she wanted to tell Amoroso first, before telling the police; she also claimed she wanted to contact an attorney.
Shapiro showed Bond and members of the jury a call log from a phone she shared. She had placed dozens of calls in the days and weeks surrounding Bella’s death to a friend; however, she made no calls to an attorney or to the police to report the girl’s death.
Shapiro also prodded Bond over the day of Bella’s death. Rachelle Bond believed it to have been May 27, two days before McCarthy’s birthday; however, she might have been wrong, she testified, because she was basing the date of Bella’s death on the date McCarthy was supposed to pick up a car. McCarthy was supposed to get the car on his birthday, she said, but he wound up getting it later on in June. “I’m a stay at home mother that didn’t work. Dates didn’t matter much,” she explained.
Shapiro argued that the date of the car is important because without the car, McCarthy couldn’t have been involved in the disposal of the girl’s body. Rachelle Bond testified last week that McCarthy used the car to drive the girl’s body to nearby water, weighted it down inside a garbage bag and a duffel bag, and threw it into the water.
Shapiro also exploited a text message from Bond to McCarthy in which she said Bells was sending her love to “daddy” sent from around the time the girl died. Rachelle Bond at one point testified that Bella may have been killed the next day.
Rachelle Bond testified that it was McCarthy who began disciplining Bella and adding the concept of consistent sleep schedules into the girl’s life.
In what many veteran legal observers considered an odd and telling moment, Rachelle Bond, an adult mother, said Bella, a two-year-old toddler, “played her” into allowing her to stay up late.
The defense hammered Bond over inconsistencies between previous statements Bond gave to police and what she testified during direct examination by prosecutors. For instance, Bond said nothing to police about performing CPR on her dying daughter, but she didn’t say anything about that to the police. Shapiro, who at times was chided by the judge for being too argumentative, told Bond, “it’s kind of hard to get your story straight when you’re making it up.”
Bond said she did give the child CPR and that she didn’t report the daughter’s disappearance because she was scared and on drugs.
McCarthy has claimed he had no involvement with the little girl’s disappearance. He claims that when he stopped seeing Bella, Rachelle Bond told him the little girl was taken away by child services officials, just as her other two children had.
Amoroso, Bella’s father, plans to attend the entire trial. He was living in Florida when the girl disappeared.