June 26 (UPI) -- A jury found Michael McCarthy guilty Monday in the murder of 2-year-old Bella Bond, who originally was known as Baby Doe when her remains were found two years ago on a Boston Harbor island.
Michael P. McCarthy, 37, was convicted of second-degree murder and Suffolk Superior Judge Janet L. Sanders set sentencing for Wednesday. The penalty is an automatic life sentence but he will be eligible for parole after 15 years served.
The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for 24 hours.
McCarthy, the then-boyfriend of Bella's mother, Rachelle Bond, was convicted of killing Bella and putting put her body in a trash bag and dumping it into the water near Shore Island in June 2015.
McCarthy's defense attorneys said Rachelle Bond, 41, was a "scheming, manipulative woman" who lied about her daughter's death to cover up her own responsibility.
Rachelle Bond, a longtime homeless drug addict with convictions that included prostitution, drug-dealing and larceny, earlier pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to murder. As part of a plea deal, she testified during the trial and will be sentenced to probation.
On June 25, 2015, a woman walking her dog on Deer Island near Boston found the body of a small child wrapped in a trash bag.
Authorities worked to identify the girl, known as "Baby Doe," and commissioned a forensic artist to draw a composite image of her. The child's identity remained a mystery for months.
But in September 2015, Rachelle Bond admitted to a friend that her daughter Bella was dead, and that the girl had not been taken away by the Department of Children and Families.
The friend then recognized Baby Doe as Bella Bond and called police.
The body was identified on Sept. 17, 2015, 84 days after her remains were found.
McCarthy was arrested and Rachelle Bond also was charged with helping dispose of Bella's body -- and taking government benefits for her daughter after her death.
"It's primarily heroin that led us all here," Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney David Deakin said in closing statements in the three-week trial.
Jurors had the option of finding McCarthy guilty on a range of charges that included first-degree murder, second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter. Sanders said jurors only had to prove McCarthy had a hand in the crime and motive was not an element of the case.
Bella's godmother Megan Fewtrell, who was friends with Bond for eight years, yelled to McCarthy, "Wipe that smirk off your face!"
After the verdict, she said: "Second-degree murder is justice for Bella. Finally, justice for Bella."