The trial of Michael McCarthy, the man accused of killing 2-year-old Bella Bond, began in Boston on Tuesday.
McCarthy, a 37-year-old man from Quincy, is charged with first-degree murder for the 2015 killing of his former girlfriend’s daughter, Bella Bond, whose body washed up on Deer Island in Boston Harbor in June 2015.
Bella’s mother, Rachelle Bond, 41, pleaded guilty in February to charges of being an accessory after the fact to murder for helping McCarthy dispose of the body, as well as larceny by false pretense for continuing to collect state benefits after Bella had died. She is expected to testify against McCarthy in the trial.
McCarthy pleaded not guilty to the murder.
In their opening statements on Tuesday, prosecutors alleged that McCarthy was obsessed with the "occult" and killed Bella because he thought the 2-year-old child was a demon, CNN reported.
McCarthy's defense attorneys alleged that Rachelle Bond was actually obsessed with the occult and was probably Bella's killer.
"At the end of this trial, you will realize that Rachelle was projecting her own delusions onto Michael, and that she blamed him for what she in fact did," McCarthy's defense attorney Jonathan Shapiro said in court, according to CNN.
Prosecutors said that Bond did not call the police concerning McCarthy because he threatened her, and she was "trapped" by both his abuse and her heroin addiction.
Bella was known for months only as “Baby Doe.” A composite image of the girl was shared widely on social media and billboards as authorities tried to identify her.
Her body washed up on Deer Island in a garbage bag. Her mother told authorities that she saw McCarthy punch Bella repeatedly in the stomach until she stopped breathing.