A jury has begun deliberating the fate of Michael P. McCarthy of Boston. He is accused of killing Bella Bond, originally known as “Baby Doe,” his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter.
The final jury of eight women and four men began deliberating at 1:42 p.m. Eastern.
Prosecutors allege McCarthy killed the girl and then threw the girl’s body into what is known as the Reserve Channel, a docking area leading out of the harbor.
A passer-by found the little girl’s body on a shoreline on the opposite side of Boston Harbor several weeks after the murder was alleged to have occurred.
The little girl’s body washed up on the shore of the island several weeks later, on June 25, 2015.
A computer-enhanced image of what the girl probably looked like in life was named “Baby Doe” and shared on billboards and on the Internet while authorities struggled to identify her. A friend of McCarthy’s eventually made the link after the girl’s mother, Rachelle Bond, told him that McCarthy killed her child.
Defense attorney Jonathan Shapiro argued that Rachelle Bond is the real killer.
“The only evidence in this case that McCarthy committed the crime is the testimony of Rachelle Bond,” Shapiro said during closing arguments. He reminded jurors that there was no DNA evidence, no fingerprint evidence, and no hair linking McCarthy to the crime. The case rested solely on the testimony of Rachelle bond.
“Without her testimony, the prosecution has no case at all,” he said.
He went on: “Each of you must ask yourself, is Rachelle Bond’s testimony” believable, credible, and accurate? “The inevitable answer is, ‘of course not.'”
Shapiro told jurors that Rachelle Bond’s story was “made up to cover her own guilt — a web of lies, and a changing web of lies.” It was “full of holes” and “contradicted by other evidence,” Shapiro argued.
“Rachelle Bond made up the story she told you and the police. She made it up when she realized the story she first told to escape her responsibility of Bella’s death was about to fall apart,” he continued.
Shapiro reminded jurors that Rachelle Bond originally told everyone Bella was “somewhere else.” She told the defendant, McCarthy, that the state’s department of children and families took the girl away. “There was no case worker,” Shapiro argued. “That story was a lie, but Michael believed her, and it was reasonable to believe her, because he knew DCF had taken” two of Rachelle Bond’s older children, he argued.
Rachelle kept up the “pretense” throughout the summer, Shapiro said.
Rachelle “lied” when she re-certified welfare benefits earmarked for Bella, who was already dead, Shapiro said. She was only eligible for these benefits if Bella Bond was alive, Shapiro told the jury.
“In September, her sinister house of cards was about to fall apart,” Shaprio said. That’s when Joseph Amoroso, the little girl’s birth father, showed up looking for Bella. Rachelle said Bella was staying with her godparents on Cape Cod. Rachelle Bond needed “a new story, a new cover up,” Shapiro argued.
The new story, Shapiro said, involved telling Michael McCarthy’s childhood friend, Michael Sprinsky, that McCarthy killed Bella. Bond told Sprinsky that she was afraid to come forward previously because she was afraid of McCarthy. (McCarthy was undergoing surgery when she dropped the story on Sprinsky, Shapiro argued.)
Shapiro called Rachelle Bond a “scheming, manipulative woman” who took a selfie sticking her tongue out “at the world” because she knew she was “about to get away with murder,” Shapiro.
Prosecutors latched on to Rachelle Bond’s story and charged McCarthy with the girl’s murder.
In return for pleading guilty to being an accessory to her daughter’s murder and for cashing social services checks earmarked for the girl’s care, Rachelle Bond faces credit for time served and two years of probation. She’ll be released as soon as the trial is over, so long as prosecutors agree that her testimony in this case was truthful.
Bond testified that she walked into a room in the apartment she shared with McCarthy to see him punching Bella so hard that her body bounced off the mattress Bella was lying upon. Rachelle Bond claimed the girl was “swollen” and “gray,” and that despite CPR, the girl died. The mother’s memory is foggy, though, she claims, due to drug use. A medical examiner testified that Bond’s story was unlikely based on Bella’s injuries.
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