A woman whose ex-boyfriend is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter pleaded guilty Friday to helping dispose of the girl's body in a plea deal that's expected to lead to her release from jail less than two years after the girl's remains washed up on a Boston Harbor island.
Rachelle Bond pleaded guilty to a charge of being an accessory after the murder. She also pleaded guilty to a larceny charge for collecting about $1,400 in welfare benefits after her daughter's death in May 2015.
Bella Bond's remains were found in a plastic bag on Deer Island.
A composite image of the chubby-cheeked, wide-eyed girl was shared by millions on social media when authorities were trying to identify her. Three months later, Rachelle Bond told a friend of her boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, that McCarthy had killed her daughter.
As part of her plea agreement with prosecutors, Bond has agreed to testify against McCarthy at his trial, scheduled to begin in April. Bond and McCarthy have been in jail since September 2015.
In court Friday, Bond's lawyer, Janice Bassil, said Bond's daughter "was everything to her." She said Bond is eager to testify against McCarthy.
"I do see her as a victim in this case," Bassil said of Rachelle Bond.
Prosecutors have said Bella's short life was marked by neglect and abuse. A man who briefly lived with the couple told investigators that he twice saw Bond and McCarthy lock her in a closet for 30 minutes to an hour while she screamed to be let out.
Prosecutors said Bond told the man that McCarthy - angry that Bella didn't want to go to sleep one night - punched her daughter 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."
McCarthy has denied killing the girl. His lawyer has said Bond told McCarthy that Bella had been taken away by the state Department of Children and Families.
Assistant District Attorney David Deakin said prosecutors will recommend a sentence of time-served after Bond testifies against McCarthy. That would result in Bond serving under two years.
This article was originally published on February 10, 2017.