BOSTON (AP) — Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of a man charged in the killing of a 2-year-old girl whose image was shared by millions of social media users after her body washed up on a Boston Harbor island.
Michael McCarthy is charged in the 2015 death of Bella Bond.
The girl was known only as Baby Doe for months as authorities struggled to identify her. Using photos of her remains, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children created a composite image of what the girl might have looked like when she was alive. The widely shared image showed a chubby-cheeked, brown-eyed girl.
The girl's mother, Rachelle Bond, pleaded guilty to helping dispose of her daughter's body. As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Bond has agreed to testify against McCarthy.
McCarthy, who was Bond's boyfriend, has denied killing the girl. His lawyer has said Bond told McCarthy her daughter was taken away by officials from the state Department of Children and Families.
Joseph Amoroso, Bella Bond's father, said he plans to attend the trial and hopes it provides some answers about what happened to his daughter.
"I'm going to be here every day because it's all about justice," Amoroso told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
Amoroso has said he never met his daughter because he was living in Florida.
Prosecutors allege that McCarthy killed Bella Bond in May or June of 2015 and stored her body in a refrigerator in the Boston apartment he shared with Rachelle Bond. She pleaded guilty to helping McCarthy dispose of Bella's body, which was found in June 2015 inside a trash bag on Deer Island in Winthrop by a woman walking a dog.
Prosecutors said Rachelle Bond told a friend that McCarthy became angry that Bella did not want to go to sleep one night and punched her in the abdomen over and over again until she died.
Bond told police that when she saw her daughter's body, McCarthy said, "She was a demon anyway. It was her time to die."
Judge Janet Sanders said she is hopeful that jury selection can be completed this week, with testimony starting next week.