In his closing arguments, the defense attorney for Michael McCarthy, who is accused of murdering his then-girlfriend’s daughter, called the girl’s mother the real “monster” and the one responsible for her death.
McCarthy is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Bella Bond, the Massachusetts 2-year-old who became known as “Baby Doe” after her body was found in a plastic bag near the Boston shoreline in 2015.
Bella’s mother, Rachelle Bond, pleaded guilty in February to accessory after the fact to murder, claiming she helped McCarthy dispose of her body, and she testified against him at his trial. She was sentenced to two years probation plus time served after having been incarcerated in 2015.
However Jonathan Shapiro, McCarthy’s attorney, argued at trial that it was Bond who killed her daughter, not his client.
“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.”
Prosecutors described Bond as a mother who loved her daughter — despite keeping quiet about her death for months — and may have acted “inexcusably,” but there was no evidence that she killed her, according to the AP and CBS News.
Closing arguments finished Tuesday, after which the jury began deliberating. During the nearly month-long trial, the court heard from Bond, and friends and family of McCarthy.
During her testimony earlier this month, Bond 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. Afterwards, she asked him what he did to her, CBS Boston reports.
“It was her time to die,” Bond claimed that McCarthy told her. “She was a demon.”
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Prosecutors have alleged in court that Bella was killed in May 2015 after she refused to go to bed and after enduring prolonged abuse. Specifically, they claimed that McCarthy killed Bella because he believed she was possessed by demons.
The AP reports that during opening statements, Shapiro argued that it was Bella’s mother who believed children could be possessed by demons — not McCarthy.
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.”
On the night of her death, Bond testified, Bella didn’t want to go to sleep. McCarthy went into the child’s room and when Bond went to check up on her daughter, she allegedly saw McCarthy punching Bella in the abdomen, according to CBS Boston.
Bond testified she tried to give Bella CPR, but McCarthy allegedly grabbed her by the throat and threatened her. Bond reportedly claimed that the next thing she remembered was waking up near Boston Harbor after McCarthy had allegedly injected her with heroin.
Prosecutors claim that Bond didn’t tell her family or friends about her daughter’s death out of fear that McCarthy would kill her. A friend of McCarthy’s testified that his friend was “deep into the dark side of things,'” according to CBS Boston.
When asked if McCarthy ever talked about Bella being possessed by demons, his friend replied, “All the time.”