Prosecutors say Massachusetts woman in texting suicide case was seeking attention
17-year-old Michelle Carter’s texts pushed Roy, 18, to commit suicide on July 12, 2014 prosecutors say
Carter is accused of wanting the sympathy and attention that came with being the “grieving girlfriend”
But does that mean she killed him?
Roy who was threatening to die by carbon monoxide poisoning in his truck, wavered and exited Carter asked him to ‘get back in’
She didn’t call his parents or emergency help lines as was dying
Trial without a jury in juvenile court because was charged as a juvenile offender, being 17 when Roy killed himself
She is still subject to adult punishment if convicted, faces up to 20 years in prison
Michelle Carter and her attorney Joseph Cataldo in court, Tuesday
A young woman in Massachusetts accused of manslaughter in the death of her teen boyfriend three years ago, found herself in the cross hairs of starkly contrasting hypothesis of the tragic event as the prosecution and the defense presented their sides of the case in the Taunton, juvenile court, Tuesday
Michelle Carter is charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly encouraging her boyfriend through text messages to kill himself, as a 17-year-old.
Carter, now 20, played a “sick game” with the life of Conrad Roy III, prosecutor Maryclare Flynn said in opening statements at Carter’s jury-waived trial, and there was damning text evidence to buttress the defense case
According to court documents, Michelle Carter reached out to her friend Samantha Boardman in the days following of death of Conrad Roy, voicing her concerns about the role she played in her boyfriend’s suicide in 2014.
Prosecutors said Carter [right], encouraged her boyfriend, Conrad Roy [left] to commit suicide with her texts
She told Samantha ‘A couple of days before leading up to it I guess I kind of let him do it.
I knew he was in the K-mart f**ken parking lot. I knew he was going to use the generator to inhale carbon monoxide. I knew it all,’his Carter told her friend.
‘I knew what he was going to do but I didn’t call anyone to stop him’.
She continued, ‘[Conrad’s] death was my fault. Like, honestly I could have stopped it. I was the one on the phone with him and he got out of the car because he was working and he got scared and I f**ken told him to get back in,’ she said.”
‘…If they read my messages I’m done. His family will hate me and I could go to jail’.
In dozens of text messages and telephone calls, the prosecution said, the defendant repeatedly urged Roy to kill himself as she sat in his pickup in the parking lot of a Fairhaven store in July 2014 as the truck filled with carbon monoxide. At one point she told him to “get back in” after he exited the truck, Flynn said.
Carter, who never called authorities or Roy’s parents as he died, wanted the sympathy and attention that came with being the “grieving girlfriend,” Flynn said.
But Carter’s attorney, Joseph Cataldo, said Roy, 18, was depressed after his parents’ divorce, was physically and verbally abused by family members and had long thought of suicide, even researching suicide methods online.
The couple met in Florida in 2012 but had only seen each other in person a handful of times even though they lived just 35 miles apart in southeastern Massachusetts, Roy in Mattapoisett and Carter in Plainville.
Carter had asked Roy in a text message to delete her messages before he carried out the suicide last summer, but investigators retrieved them.
According to prosecutors, Carter pressured her boyfriend to go through with suicide for almost a week before he carried out the act.
She counseled him to overcome his fears; researched methods of committing suicide painlessly; and lied to police, his family and her friends about his whereabouts during the act itself and after, prosecutors said.
Earlier in 2015, Attorney Joseph Cataldo had asked the state to dismiss the case against his client
They communicated mostly through text messages and phone calls, and it was Carter who urged Roy to seek professional help, Cataldo said.
“Conrad Roy was on this path to take his own life for years,” he said. “It was Conrad Roy’s idea to take his own life, it was not Michelle Carter’s idea. This was a suicide, a sad and tragic suicide, but not a homicide.”
Carter had her own mental health struggles and was taking medications that may have clouded her judgment, he said.
The case is being tried without a jury in juvenile court because Carter was 17 when Roy killed himself. Court proceedings are open because she was charged as a juvenile offender, which makes her subject to adult punishment if convicted.
With the onus on prosecutors to prove that Carter’s encouragement resulted in his death, which would make Roy’s death homicide instead of suicide.
The trail of text messages presents a different challenge upholding the defense contention.
The pair exchanged hundreds of text messages for several days before Roy’s suicide.
In one notable text, she implied that he would be better off dead: “You’re finally going to be happy in heaven. No more pain. It’s okay to be scared and it’s normal. I mean, you’re about to die.”
They also texted early in the morning of July 12, 2014, hours before Roy’s suicide. In some of the exchanges, Carter appeared to be faulting Roy for delaying it.
“So I guess you aren’t gonna do it then, all that for nothing … I’m just so confused like you were so ready and determined,” she said.
When Roy said he wanted to go back to sleep, Carter suggested that “now” is the best time to do it because everyone was still sleeping.
“Just go somewhere in your truck. And no one’s really out right now because it’s an awkward time,” she said.
In another text that same day, she kept pushing.
“I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you’re ready … just do it babe,” she said.
She suggested that he take medication to fall asleep and allow the fumes to work.
She worried that he wouldn’t go through with it because the sun would soon be coming up.
She suggested that he go to an empty parking lot.
They texted throughout the day about the plans, about Roy’s doubts, and about Carter’s insistence that “the time is right” and that he was ready.
The young couple – Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy
Roy had recently graduated high school and had been accepted to Fitchburg State University to study business, according to his mother, Lynn Roy
Conrad spent his last day on the beach with his mother and sisters.
he was texting Carter about his determination to kill himself, how best to do so and his fears that others could be hurt by the use of carbon monoxide, according to a court filing.
His mother testified about a series of text messages from Carter after his death, the night he died.
Carter wrote to Lynn Roy repeatedly, offering support, expressing love for Conrad and confidence that he was in a better place, and suggesting that she organize a memorial baseball tournament in his honor — while never mentioning the dozens of messages she sent to him encouraging him to kill himself, or the phone conversation they allegedly had while he was attempting to kill himself in his truck. The court had earlier ruled that Carter’s “virtual presence” at the time of the suicide and the “constant pressure” she had placed on Roy, who was in a delicate mental state, were enough proof for an involuntary manslaughter charge.
Carter faces up to 20 years in prison, if convicted