BOSTON (CBS) — The mother of Bella Bond was sentenced Wednesday afternoon for her role in her 2-year-old daughter’s death in 2015.
Rachelle Bond was sentenced to time served–nearly two years–as part of a deal with prosecutors in exchange for testifying against her now-convicted former boyfriend, Michael McCarthy. She will also face two years of probation.
“There would have been no prosecution of Michael McCarthy without the cooperation agreement that we made with Rachelle Bond to secure her testimony,” Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said after the sentencing hearing. “We don’t enter into these agreements lightly or capriciously, or frivolously.”
Bond will stay in jail until Friday, the earliest date a bed at a rehab facility is available for her, so that she can leave South Bay House of Correction and go directly to that facility.
“She will be in an inpatient substance abuse program, and she is very committed to that,” her attorney, Janet Bassil, told reporters after the hearing. “I expect that once she completes an inpatient program, she will be in further step-down programs and eventually reach a point where I hope she will lead an independent life free of drugs and substance abuse.”
Bond pleaded guilty back in February to being an accessory after the fact to murder, and to larceny as a result of her continued use of state benefits intended for her daughter.
Prosecutors said McCarthy killed Bella because he thought she was a “demon,” and Rachelle testified against him as the star witness during his 15-day trial.
The defense claimed Rachelle was the one who held bizarre occult beliefs and killed her daughter, but jurors ultimately believed Rachelle’s testimony.
“In my view of this sentence, coupled with what she will bear now for the rest of her life, justice has been served, the true killer has been held accountable,” Conley said.
“She’s relieved it’s over,” Bassil said. “She’s certainly relieved that Michael McCarthy was convicted, that was very important to her.”
Bond and McCarthy were arrested in September 2015, three months after Bella Bond’s body washed ashore on Deer Island.
A computer-generated image of the girl was shared by millions on social media by authorities trying to determine her identity.
Rachelle’s sentencing was originally scheduled for June 27, but was pushed back two weeks so that a bed in a rehab facility would be available for her.
“She really doesn’t have family, she doesn’t have friends,” said Bassil. “She’s actually quite a strong person, and I think that she will create in the end her own support system, but right now she needs the structure of sort of an official support system through programs.”
Bassil said Bond has nothing but a bag of basic necessities she bought for her at Target, as well as a box of a few belongings now sitting in the attorney’s office that were salvaged from a storage unit. Included in those possessions, Bassil said, are a pair of little Bella’s shiny pink boots, which she said are sentimental to Rachelle.
She did not elaborate on the type of program Bond will take part in, or which facility that agreed to take her.
Conley expressed his hopes that Bond can get over the obstacle of addiction.
“My hope personally, and the hope of my office and the prosecutors and troopers who work on the case, is that she is clean and sober now, she stays clean and sober, and that she’s able to lead a productive life as a good citizen of our Commonwealth,” Conley said.
As part of her release conditions, Bond is not allowed to use alcohol or illegal substances or live with anyone else who does. She will be required to pass drug tests, and has to follow the recommendations of a psychiatric evaluation with substance abuse components.
Bassil has said Bond intends to stay sober and to testify at any of McCarthy’s future parole hearings.
“She just wants to start over,” Bassil said.