In a surprise twist, Rachelle Bond is staying in jail
Rachelle Bond, a recovering heroin user who has already spent 22 months behind bars, had been expected to be set free, one day after her ex-boyfriend was convicted of killing her 2-year-old daughter.
But rather than face the temptations of life outside, she chose Tuesday to remain in jail after learning that a drug treatment center refused to take her, apparently because of her role in the notorious case.
“She has nowhere to go,” her lawyer, Janice Bassil, told reporters.
“She does not want to be released to the streets,” Bassil said. “Her goal right now is to stay clean and sober and get back on her feet.”
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet L. Sanders postponed sentencing to July 12, in the hopes another opening at a drug treatment center would be found by then.
Bond, 41, was scheduled to be sentenced to two years of probation Tuesday, ending her incarceration.
She has been held at the Suffolk County House of Correction since her arrest in September 2015, and has been receiving treatment.
The Salvation Army, which runs adult rehabilitation centers, had reserved a bed for Bond, who has a history of homelessness.
But during a sidebar conversation with Sanders and Assistant District Attorney David Deakin, Bassil said that as of Monday afternoon, the Salvation Army was no longer offering a spot for Bond.
“I mean, what happened was, it really was because of her name that the Salvation Army withdrew their offer,” Bassil told the judge, according to a court transcript.
Tim Raines, a spokesman for the Salvation Army, said he could not comment on the matter, citing a strict policy of confidentiality.
“The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers accept men and women from all walks of life,” he said in an e-mail. “Our determination for acceptance is based only on the applicant’s willingness to participate and whether we believe we can help them. If we have no room in a particular program or if the applicant is in need of a higher level of care, they are referred to another program we believe will be able to help.”
Bassil told Sanders it could take at least a week to find a bed for Bond. During the sidebar, she said Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins’s office was calling his counterparts in search of a program that would accept her.
Treatment beds for women in recovery are difficult to find, Bassil later told reporters, especially women involved in the criminal justice system.
Gil Nason, a Lowell defense attorney who has represented many clients struggling with addiction, said Bond’s predicament is all too common in an overloaded system.
“It’s almost impossible to get beds,” Nason said.
Bond’s struggle to find treatment comes as she still copes with the public backlash against her that began when she was first identified as the mother of Bella Bond in September 2015.
That was when investigators finally learned the identity of “Baby Doe,” the 2-year-old girl whose body was found in a trash bag on June 25, 2015.
Bond told police that her boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, killed the child one night when she refused to go to sleep, then placed her in trash bags and weighed her down with rusty barbells. Her body was dropped into Boston Harbor.
Bond, her daughter, and McCarthy lived in Dorchester, where the couple spiraled deeper into heroin use in the months before the girl’s death.
In February, Bond pleaded guilty to acting as an accessory after the fact and larceny, for collecting her daughter’s government benefits after she died.
Bond was the prosecution’s chief witness against McCarthy during his trial.
In exchange for the plea and her testimony against McCarthy, prosecutors agreed to recommend she be released and serve two years probation.
Throughout the trial, people railed against the plea agreement on social media, insulting Deakin and in some cases calling Bond the real killer, the theory asserted by the defense.
After McCarthy was convicted, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley addressed the criticism, saying police never found a “shred of evidence” that Bond had killed her child.
“There is no question that Rachelle Bond had so many complicated issues in her life,’’ he said. “A lot of people don’t like her. That’s very clear.”
Conley said investigators and prosecutors ultimately trusted her story because it was corroborated by other evidence. The agreement they made with her “required her to speak truthfully, to testify truthfully, and we believe she did that,” Conley said.
During the hearing Tuesday, Sanders said she made it clear in February that she would agree to the plea bargain.
“There’s no secret here about the sentence,’’ she said from the bench.
In a motion to impose conditions on Bond’s probation, Deakin asked that Bond undergo a full psychiatric evaluation, stay away from drugs and alcohol, and be forbidden from living with anyone who uses illegal substances.
Bassil said Bond has been a well-behaved inmate.
“She is all alone,” Bassil said. “She’ll get out and she doesn’t have her daughter . . . she lives with this the rest of her life. This isn’t freedom to her.”