Did girlfriend's texts push teen to take his own life?

Alvin Kelly
June 7, 2017

For instance, an ongoing case regarding the suicide of an 18-year-old in MA has raised a series of new questions about the implications of assisting someone to commit suicide through text messages.

Roy family members react when crime-scene photos are projected, during the opening day of the trial of Michelle Carter on Monday in Taunton District Court.

Michelle Carter knew Conrad Roy III had taken his own life, prosecutors say, but when his family and friends were hit with the shocking news, she wanted to be the grieving girlfriend at the center of attention. "From at least July 6th through July 12th, 2014, Carter assisted Conrad's suicide by counseling him to overcome his doubts, devising a plan to run a combustion engine within his truck in order to poison him with carbon monoxide, and by directing him to go back in his truck after he exited it, when he became frightened the plan was working".

Twenty-year-old Michelle Carter of Plainville, Massachusetts, waived her right to a jury this week in an unusual trial over whether she drove her high school boyfriend to suicide.

The case is being tried without a jury in juvenile court because the now 20-year-old Ms. Carter was a juvenile when Mr. Roy killed himself.

"It's time, babe", Michelle Carter, then 17, texted to her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, who had just texted that he was "ready". She also said that just two days before his funeral, Carter asked for some of his ashes.

But as police investigated, they found hundreds of text messages between Carter and Roy.

Carter is charged with manslaughter in Conrad Roy's death.

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"She begins to get the attention she craved for", Flynn continued. "She assured him his family would understand".

Mr Cataldo said Roy had once suggested the couple should be like Romeo and Juliet, but Carter said she did not want them to die.

"All you have to do is turn on the generator and you will be free and happy". "They just do it." . "I mean, you're about to die", she wrote.

Flynn charged that as Roy's truck was filling with carbon monoxide and he fled the vehicle, filled with fear, Carter told him, during a phone call "to get back in".

Carter is twenty now and is facing a sentence that could last up to twenty years. Citing another message she sent to a friend, the prosecutors say she even told him to get back in the auto at one point when he climbed out of it and was having second thoughts.

Her son never talked about Carter and she rarely saw them together, she said.

Defence attorney, Joseph Cataldo, however, painted a starkly contrasting picture of Carter. The lawyers say that prosecutors are stretching the definition of involuntary manslaughter and that it was ultimately Roy who caused his own death.

"This is a suicide case", he said, "not a homicide". "They texted at all hours of the day and night". He claimed Carter also implored Roy to seek professional help but he turned down her advice and that the young woman, who was allegedly facing her own mental health issues at the time, was on anti-depressants, which may have clouded her judgment. Three years later, that state's Supreme Court reversed the convictions, saying parts of Minnesota's law against encouraging suicide violated the First Amendment.

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