BOSTON (CBS) — After Michael McCarthy was found guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of Bella Bond, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley defended the controversial deal prosecutors worked out with the girl’s mother.
“A lot of people don’t like her, I think that’s pretty clear,” Conley said of Bella’s mother, Rachelle Bond, after the conviction Monday morning. “But her testimony … it had the ring of credibility and truth to it, and we were able to corroborate it.”
Rachelle was charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact for her role in covering up Bella’s death. In exchange for her testimony, she’s expected to walk free on time served after she’s sentenced Tuesday.
“We entered into a cooperation agreement that required her to speak truthfully, to testify truthfully, and we believe that she did that,” Conley said.
Many questioned Rachelle’s story because she admitted she lied multiple times to authorities before telling a friend the truth about what happened to her daughter.
“She acted reprehensibly, I think we can all agree on that,” Conley said.
Conley said that, although there was an “intense focus” on Rachelle during the trial, her testimony was only a part of the evidence. He said her story was supported by other evidence the prosecution brought forth, which Rachelle was unaware prosecutors would have.
That independent evidence, he said, included McCarthy’s phone records, his texts, weights from his father’s shop used to dump Bella’s body, and the very location where her body was dumped.
He noted the effect of drugs on the case, and said that, though so many of the witnesses had been under their influence, they were the only ones prosecutors had to work with.
“As prosecutors, we wish more than anyone that every case came to us with upstanding witnesses, strong forensic evidence, and a motive unique to the offender, but real life doesn’t work that way,” he said. “The people who occupied Bella’s world were almost all in the throes of heroin addiction, and that’s who the jury saw, and that’s who they heard. They are not witnesses we would have wanted, but we don’t get to choose our witnesses.”
He said the prosecution’s hopes and prayers were with Rachelle Bond, and that he hopes she can get on the path to recovery.