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Michael McCarthy may well spend more than 20 years in prison

Michael McCarthy, the murderer of toddler Bella Bond, was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison with parole eligibility in 20 years.
Michael McCarthy, the murderer of toddler Bella Bond, was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison with parole eligibility in 20 years.

For Michael P. McCarthy, it may be more than 20 years.

McCarthy was convicted this week of second-degree murder for killing 2-year-old Bella Bond and was sentenced by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet L. Sanders to the mandatory life sentence. She determined he will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years.

Under state law, McCarthy will be given credit for time he spent in jail awaiting trial. Once that is deducted from the 20 years, it appears that he will make his first appearance before the Parole Board around 2035.

But, according to Massachusetts Parole Board records, he most likely will be denied parole.

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The current board, whose chairman was appointed by Governor Charlie Baker, is not easily swayed by the convicted murderers who appear before them.

In 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, second-degree murderers were rejected 77 percent of the time the first time they sought release.

One of those was Jonathan Mejia, convicted of murdering John Hammonds in Jamaica Plain in 2001 when Mejia was 15 years old. He appeared before the board for the first time since his Suffolk Superior Court conviction in 2003.

“The board is of the opinion that Mr. Mejia needs a longer period of positive adjustment,’’ the decision reads. “He committed the egregious murder of an innocent citizen and remains a threat to public safety.”

He was ordered to serve another three years.

A similar percentage of second-degree murderers were rejected on their second and third tries for parole.

Terrance Wade learned recently that he must spend at least another three years in prison. Wade admitted to participating in the Oct. 31 1990, murder of Kimberly Rae Harbour, who was attacked by eight teenagers and young men who raped her and stabbed her more than 130 times.

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Wade was 15 years old at the time of Harbour’s death and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1992. He has now spent more than 25 years in prison.

He was denied parole first in 2005, a second time in 2010, and must now wait until 2019, when he will have spent more than 28 years in prison, to ask for his freedom again.

“The Board is of the unanimous opinion that Mr. Wade is not yet rehabilitated and, therefore, does not merit parole at this time,’’ the board wrote in its May decision. “During the interim, the Board urges Mr. Wade to continue working towards his full rehabilitation.’’

Currently, 752 people are serving time for second-degree murder convictions, according to the Department of Correction.


John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.