Rachelle Bond admitted Monday she lied about 2-year-old Bella Bond’s whereabouts in the weeks after her young daughter’s death, offering a series of explanations including that she feared for her life and that she would lose her Dorchester apartment if she alerted the authorities.
She told jurors that she made a mistake by not calling 911 for help after her then-boyfriend, Michael P. McCarthy, allegedly fatally attacked Bella. And when detectives came to her Dorchester apartment to ask about Bella’s death, she fled out a back window rather than confront them, Bond admitted Monday in McCarthy’s murder trial.
“I’m ashamed of it,” Bond testified in Suffolk Superior court under withering questioning from McCarthy’s lawyer, Jonathan Shapiro. “I made a mistake.”
With Bond on the witness stand for the second day, Shapiro, who has asserted that Bond, 41, killed her daughter Bella, spent more than two hours seeking to exploit the lies she told about her daughter’s whereabouts during the summer of 2015.
At the time, authorities were trying to identify the body of a little girl that had washed up on Deer Island on June 25. She remained nameless until that September, when a friend of McCarthy’s, Michael Sprinsky, alerted authorities.
Bond said she had no access to television and was unaware her daughter’s body had washed up on Deer Island until she saw an item in the news in September, the same day police tracked her down to the home of Bella’s paternal grandmother in Lynn.
Shapiro sought to underscore the inconsistencies in Bond’s initial statements to police in September 2015, when she was arrested on charges of acting as an accessory after the fact to murder.
“You didn’t want the authorities to know what really happened to Bella, did you?” Shapiro asked. “You knew they were going to come and what did you do? You jumped out the window and ran away. You weren’t ready to make a clean breast of it, were you?”
Bond said she fled police because she wanted to tell the girl’s father, Joseph Amoroso, what had happened before police did, and wanted to find a lawyer.
Shapiro accused her of trying to get away with something.
“I didn’t get away with anything,” she said. “My child was dead.”
Shapiro also sought to emphasize the bond between McCarthy and the child, playing an audio of the little girl giggling delightedly as McCarthy told her how to kill the monsters in her nightmares.
Bond, a recovering heroin user with a long criminal record, pleaded guilty in February to being an accessory after the fact. She is the only witness to Bella’s alleged killing and is testifying against McCarthy under a plea agreement with prosecutors, who have agreed to recommend that she be sentenced to two years of probation.
The medical examiner has been unable to determine an exact cause of death; there was no physical evidence of a killing in Bond’s Dorchester apartment.
Under cross-examination, Bond admitted that weeks after Bella died she told housing officials that the child was still living with her because she didn’t want to be moved to a smaller subsidized apartment.
Bond remained calm on the stand as she sought to explain her actions in the weeks after her daughter’s death. McCarthy, sitting in the courtroom, shook his head as Bond accused him of hounding her, insisting she go everywhere with him. More than once, he threatened to kill her, Bond testified.
“I couldn’t shower alone,” she said during direct questioning from Assistant District Attorney David Deakin. “I felt trapped. He’d already dragged me through this situation. I didn’t think anyone would believe me.”
In July, a month after Bella’s death, Bond went to Housing Court. Deakin showed a series of texts between her and McCarthy that showed how closely he was tracking her movements. McCarthy seemed exasperated when Bond told him she would be in court all day because her case would be among the last called.
“All my time in court I’ve never heard anyone say you are the bottom of the list,” he texted her.
At the same time, he sent her texts about Bella that could provide the defense an opportunity to suggest McCarthy did not harm the child. In one message, he told Bond not to mention her daughter to anyone at Housing Court lest it attract the attention of the Department of Children and Families, the state’s child welfare agency.
“We can’t lose her to the state,” he wrote. “We love her too much to ever let those vampires be around her.”
Deakin also read aloud excerpts from a journal Bond kept that summer that described government conspiracies of world leaders who feast on the blood of innocent children. Bond testified that McCarthy made those statements and insisted she write them down in her journal.
Deakin also asked her how, even after McCarthy allegedly killed the girl, Bond could describe him as her “husband” in her journal and write about him lovingly.
“I need Michael and Michael needs me,” Bond wrote. She said she knew he read her journal, she told the court.
She said she did not feel safe enough to tell anyone about her daughter’s death until that September, when McCarthy went to Boston Medical Center for treatment of an abscess.
“I felt like I could get away from him,” Bond said. “He was going into surgery. He couldn’t chase after me.”
She went to buy a phone to call Bella’s father and ran into Sprinsky. She told him she was planning on leaving McCarthy.
“You can get your daughter back from [DCF] now,” Sprinsky replied, according to Bond.
“I said, ‘I can’t ever get her back,’ ” Bond said, weeping. “Michael killed her.”