Michael McCarthy was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Bella Bond, the 2-year-old who became known as “Baby Doe” after her unidentified body was found in a plastic bag near the Boston shoreline in 2015, according to multiple reports.
McCarthy — the ex-boyfriend of the little girl’s mother — was charged soon after Bella’s body was identified.
The Suffolk County Superior Court jury — of four women and eight men — deliberated for more than five days, the Boston Globe reports. McCarthy faces a mandatory life sentence with the possibility of parole after 15 years, the paper reports.
The jury also had the option of convicting McCarthy of first-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter, the Boston Herald reports.
Bella elicited nationwide sympathy when a composite sketch of her was shared by millions on social media before she was identified.
Prosecutors alleged in court that Bella was killed in May 2015 after she refused to go to bed, and they said she had endured prolonged abuse. Specifically, they claimed that McCarthy killed Bella because he believed she was possessed by demons.
“She was a demon anyway, it was her time to die,” McCarthy allegedly told Bond when she discovered her daughter was dead.
Bella’s mother, Rachelle Bond, pleaded guilty in February to accessory after the fact of murder. She was sentenced to two years probation plus time served after having been incarcerated in 2015, CBS reported. In exchange, she testified against McCarthy.
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During her testimony earlier this month, Bond said she saw McCarthy go into Bella’s room and allegedly punch her in the stomach because she didn’t want to go to bed. When the girl stopped screaming, Bond testified that she saw that the girl’s head appeared to be swollen and her face was gray.
Bond told the jury that she confronted McCarthy. “What the f— did you do?” she said she asked, according to reports.
She tearfully described how she allegedly helped McCarthy stuff her daughter’s lifeless body in a duffle bag and then throw it into a river in South Boston, CBS Boston reports.
In his opening statement, McCarthy’s attorney, Jonathan Shapiro, argued that despite his heroin addiction, McCarthy “was very good with [Bella]. He called her ‘honey,’ ‘good girl,’ ” the Boston Globe reported.
Shapiro added, “When the little girl had nightmares about scary monsters, he taught her to battle them with love … and blow the heads off the monsters with love.”
In his closing argument, Shapiro said Bond was responsible for Bella’s death, saying, “In the end, the monster came for that little girl,” Shapiro told the jury, the Associated Press and CBS News report. “And it was her mother.”
It was not immediately clear if McCarthy planned to appeal.