The father of 2-year-old Bella Bond, who was nicknamed "Baby Doe" after her unidentified body washed up on a Boston-area beach, spoke today at the sentencing for the man convicted of murdering his young daughter, saying, "I was robbed of my chance to be a father to Bella."
Bella's father, Joseph Amoroso, who never met his daughter, said in a victim impact statement, "Bella is the name I chose because it means beautiful, and that she was."
Amoroso called Bella a "gift from God" and described her as a "happy and innocent child, full of light." She was smart and learned things quickly, he said. Bella knew how to make pizza and she loved Hello Kitty, Amoroso said.
Amoroso added that he thinks Bella would have excelled in college, and he said he could imagine her being a "well-mannered" mother who loved children.
But Amoroso said today her life was cut short.
On Monday, Michael McCarthy was found guilty of second-degree murder in connection with Bella's 2015 death. McCarthy was dating Bella's mother, Rachelle Bond, at the time.
In June 2015, the girl's unidentified body, a zebra-print blanket and polka dot leggings were found on Deer Island, about eight miles east of Boston's Logan Airport. Computer composites used to identify the body were viewed by millions and the mystery surrounding the unknown victim captivated the country. In September 2015, Bella was finally identified, and McCarthy and Bond were arrested.
At sentencing today, defense attorneys argued that McCarthy had at most a minor criminal record and that he had a hard life, suffering from drug addiction.
McCarthy was sentenced today to life in prison; the judge ruled that McCarthy should not be parole eligible for at least 20 years.
In 2015, after Bella was identified, Amoroso spoke to People, telling the outlet that he never met his daughter. According to People, Amoroso said he had struggled with drug addiction and was trying to “straighten [his] life out to be there for Bella” when he learned of her death.
“Unfortunately it was too late,” he said. “We all have issues.”
Amoroso said today, "No justice on earth fixes" his grief, adding, "Bella was, still is, and always will be in my heart and soul."
During McCarthy's trial, Bond testified that on the night Bella died, McCarthy went to the 2-year-old’s room to tell Bella to lay down. Five minutes later she returned to the room, where she witnessed McCarthy punching Bella in the stomach, she continued.
"I saw her bounce off the bed" and then fall back down, Bond told the jury.
She said Bella's "head was swollen and gray” and she tried to do CPR.
She testified that she picked Bella up to leave but McCarthy grabbed her by the throat with both hands and said he'd kill her.
Bond told the court she blacked out. When she woke up, she was on the couch in the living room.
She testified that she told McCarthy he had killed Bella. McCarthy replied, "It was her time to die, she was a demon," Bond said.
That night McCarthy injected Bond with heroin in her neck, and later brought her to his car, she said on the stand. She said a green duffel bag was in the backseat and she thought Bella was in the bag. She said McCarthy hit her on the head, and when she regained consciousness, she did not recognize where she was, and McCarthy and the bag were not in the car with her. McCarthy later returned to the car, she said.
The Associated Press reported that during the trial McCarthy's lawyer told jurors that Bond was a “monster” who killed her own daughter.
McCarthy’s lawyer said in closing arguments that Bond created a “web of lies” and placed the blame on McCarthy, according to the AP.
Bond, who was charged as an accessory, pleaded guilty earlier this year in exchange for her testimony against McCarthy, ABC affiliate WCVB reported in February. She is expected to serve probation for two years, according to the plea agreement.