BOSTON (Reuters) - A 2-1/2 year-old girl whose body was found in a bag on a Boston Harbor beach in June was killed by her mother’s boyfriend because he thought she was possessed by demons, prosecutors said on Monday during a raucous arraignment.
The mother, Rachelle Bond, 40, was ordered held on $1 million bail and the boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, 35, was ordered held without bail during the hearing in Dorchester Municipal Court, at which onlookers shouted at the pair.
McCarthy is charged with the murder of the child, Bella Bond, and both McCarthy and Bond are charged with improper disposal of a body. They have pleaded not guilty.
Bella Bond’s body was found in a bag in June by a woman walking her dog, prompting police to launch a billboard campaign featuring a computer image of what the girl may have looked like in life. She quickly became known as “Baby Doe.”
According to prosecutors, McCarthy, who they say was a heroin user who believed in the supernatural, killed the girl in May after she refused to go to sleep and was misbehaving.
McCarthy went into her room to “calm her down,” Suffolk Assistant District Attorney David Deakin said at the joint arraignment. After a few minutes, Bond walked into the room and found McCarthy standing over Bella, his hand on her abdomen, her face now gray and swollen, according to Deakin.
“In that moment, she knew her daughter was dead,” Deakin said of Bond. Deakin said McCarthy told Bond that “she was a demon anyway. It was her time to die.”
A search of the couple’s home uncovered many books about spirits, ghosts and demonology.
“He had reported seeing demons, reported seeing ghosts, and believed he could exorcise demons and ghosts,” Deakin said of McCarthy.
In the courtroom, a woman who said she was Bella Bond’s godmother sat in the front row sobbing, clutching a stuffed animal. When she heard the allegations against McCarthy she stood up and screamed, “I hope you rot in hell,” before running out of the room.
Prosecutors said a lifelong friend of McCarthy and Bond ultimately led investigators to the couple after noticing the child was no longer around. Prosecutors said the friend thought the child was in the care of the Department of Children and Families, until Bond allegedly admitted to him what happened.
Prosecutors said that after Bella’s death the couple obtained a large amount of heroin and were intoxicated for several days before placing the body in a weighted duffle bag and dumping it in Boston Harbor.
At the arraignment, Bond wore a gray hooded sweatshirt, pulled over her eyes as she wiped tears from her face. McCarthy, who was wearing a blue dress shirt and black pants, stared blankly.
Lawyers for Bond and McCarthy declined to comment inside the courthouse. Their next hearing is Oct. 20.
At the end of the hearing Joseph Amoroso, Bella Bond’s father, said he does not place blame on her mother. Amoroso had never met his child, and lived in Florida for the span of her short life.
“I know Rachelle didn’t kill her,” Amoroso told reporters after the hearing. Before he left the courtroom he shouted at his daughter’s alleged killer, “You’re done. You won’t last a day [in jail].”
Reporting by Jacqueline Tempera; Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Eric Walsh