A Massachusetts judge has denied a bid for a reduced verdict by a man convicted of killing a 2-year-old girl who became known as Baby Doe after her remains washed up on the shore of a Boston Harbor island.
The judge on Friday rejected Michael McCarthy's request to have the jury's verdict of second-degree murder reduced to manslaughter. The judge said there was "ample evidence" to find the murder verdict.
McCarthy, 37, was found guilty of second-degree murder in June 2017. He is currently serving a life sentence.
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley praised the judge's ruling Friday.
"The jury in this case heard testimony for three weeks at trial. They deliberated for four full days," Conley said. "Their verdict was just, fair, and grounded in the evidence, and so was Judge [Janet] Sanders' decision."
The body of Bella Bond washed up on Deer Island in Winthrop in the summer of 2015. Her body was found in a trash bag by a woman walking a dog, and it was months before detectives were able to identify her.
A tip in September 2015 led to the arrests of Bella's mother, Rachelle Bond, and her then-boyfriend McCarthy.
According to prosecutors, McCarthy had said that Bella was a demon. Investigators said he fatally punched her in the stomach after she refused to go to bed one night.
"I just saw her bounce off the bed," her mother testified in court. "She bounced up and came back down ... I think I yelled, 'What the [expletive] did you do?'"
Rachelle Bond, who was accused of helping to dispose of her daughter's body, later pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact. She was released from jail less than two years later.
McCarthy's lawyer argued at trial that Bond was the real killer.