Michael McCarthy, the man accused of killing 2-year-old Bella Bond, has been found guilty of second-degree murder by a Suffolk Superior Court jury.
Monday marked the fifth day of deliberations for the jury, which had the choice between saying McCarthy was not guilty, guilty of murder in the first degree, guilty of murder in the second degree or guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
McCarthy, 37, was found guilty of second-degree murder, meaning the killing was not premeditated.
Bella’s body was found on the beach of Deer Island in June 2015, having washed ashore wrapped in a trash bag. For months she was known only as “Baby Doe” as investigators worked on identifying the toddler, following hundreds of tips that poured in from across the region.
She was finally identified in September 2015 after Michael Sprinsky, a former friend of McCarthy, told state police that Bella’s mother, Rachelle Bond, confessed the incident to him, according to the Boston Globe.
McCarthy pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. His defense attorney told jurors during the trial that Bella’s mother — who McCarthy was dating at the time — is actually responsible for the toddler’s death.
Bond struck a plea deal allowing her to escape additional prison time in exchange for her testimony in the trial. Bond pleaded guilty in February to being an accessory after the fact to murder, as well as to larceny for the state welfare checks she received after Bella died.
Bond testified that McCarthy punched Bella, hitting her hard enough that she bounced off of her bed.
"He said it was her time to die, she was a demon," Bond, 41, testified.
During the trial, Sprinsky also testified that McCarthy said he believed the little girl was possessed by demons “all the time.”
Megan Fewtrell, who identified herself as Bella's godmother, told reporters she was "very happy" with the verdict.
"I'm feeling justice for Bella," she said.
Second-degree murder carries a life sentence with a chance of parole after 15 years. McCarthy will be sentenced Wednesday and Bond will be sentenced Tuesday to an expected term of time followed by probation, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office.