Michelle Carter arrives at Taunton District Court in Taunton, Massachusetts on Jun. 16, 2017 to hear the verdict in her trial. Michelle Carter was the young woman accused of sending her boyfriend text messages urging him to k**l himself when they were teenagers.
A Massachusetts jury found that the defendant’s actions constituted “reckless conduct.” Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz convicted Carter of involuntary manslaughter in the d***h of Conrad Roy III.
Carter, then 17, persuaded Roy to k**l himself in July 2014 with a series of texts and phone calls, prosecutors alleged. Roy d**d when his pickup truck filled up with carbon monoxide in a store parking lot in Fairhaven. After he exited the truck, Carter told him to “get back in” prosecutors said; unfortunately, he did.
Prosecutors allege Carter pushed Roy to commit s*****e because she was desperate for attention and sympathy from classmates, and wanted to play the role of a grieving girlfriend.
Carter’s lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, argued that Roy was determined to k**l himself and nothing Carter did could change that. He said Carter initially tried to talk Roy out of it and urged him to get professional help, but eventually went along with his plan; and took Carter on his sad journey.
Carter waived her right to a jury trial, so Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz decided on the case. He began deliberating late Tuesday after closing arguments concluded and read his verdict Friday morning.
Carter had sent Roy dozens of messages telling him to commit s*****e.
“I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you’re ready…just do it babe.”
Roy listened. But as the 18-year-old was inhaling carbon monoxide in his pickup truck, he panicked and got out, calling his girlfriend with second thoughts.
“Get back in,” Carter told him.
Afterwards, prosecutors said, the teen listened for 20 minutes as Roy cried out in pain and d**d.
While Roy took significant actions of his own to take his own life, Carter’s instruction to get back in the truck constituted reckless conduct. Even though she knew he was in the truck, she didn’t take action to help him by calling the police or his family, Moniz said.
“She called no one and finally she did not issue a simple additional instruction to get out of the truck,” Moniz said.
“This court has found that Carter’s actions and failure to act where it was her self-created duty to Roy since she put him in that toxic environment and it constituted reckless conduct,” Judge Moniz said in a 15-minute explanation of his ruling.
“The court finds that the conduct caused the d***h of Mr. Roy.”
Her texts later became more insistent after Roy appeared to delay his plan.
Carter’s friends and acquaintances who took the witness stand described Carter’s texts to them in the hours before and after Roy took his life. Some saying she was on the phone with him when he d**d. What’s surprising was Carter was texting them though they weren’t very close with her.
Olivia Mosolgo testified that she got a text message from Carter after Roy’s d***h. Carter texted that she was on the phone with him during his final moments.
“I was talking on the phone with him when he k****d himself … heard him die.“I helped ease him into it and told him it was okay … Well, I could’ve easily stopped him or called the police but I didn’t,” she said.
“His d***h is 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 it was working and he got scared and I f[—]en told him to get back in … because I knew that he would do it all over again the next day and I couldn’t have him live the way he was living anymore.”
Because she was 17 at the time of the c***e, Carter was tried as a minor.
Carter cried silently as the judge read his verdict and so with Roy’s parents who sat nearby. The judge set sentencing for Aug. 3. He ruled that Carter, now 20, can remain free on bail but ordered her not to make any contact with Roy’s family and not to leave the state. She faces a sentence of probation to 20 years in prison.
Roy’s mother speaks out for the first time on television in a “48-Hour” special, “D***h by Text.”
“I don’t believe she has a conscience,” Lynn Roy tells Erin Moriarty, “I think she needs to be held responsible for her actions ’cause she knew exactly what she was doing and what she said.”
This case was not only notable for the exchanges found in the teens’ intimate texting conversations, but also because many legal experts would argue that words alone can’t be enough to cause someone’s d***h.
Roy had a record of depression and had attempted s*****e in 2012, taking an overdose of Tylenol. Roy’s mother testified at Carter’s trial that Roy seemed to improve after he began taking medication and getting counseling. He even graduated from high school in 2014 and had plans to attend college.
Roy’s father, Conrad Roy Jr., said the family was pleased with the conviction.
“This has been a very tough time for our family. We’d like to just process this verdict,” Roy’s father told reporters after the decision.
“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,” Carter wrote in one message.
CNN’s Danny Cevallos said, “Given the expansive definition of manslaughter under Massachusetts law, the guilty verdict is not a surprise.”
Cevallos continued, “Still, this verdict is concerning because it reflects a judicial willingness to expand legal liability for another person’s s*****e, an act which by definition is a completely independent choice. Historically, s*****e has been considered a superseding act which breaks the chain of legal causation.”
The case has been closely watched in the legal community and widely shared on social media. In Massachusetts, an involuntary manslaughter charge can be brought when someone causes the d***h of another person. This is when engaging in reckless or wanton conduct that creates a high degree of likelihood of substantial harm. Prosecutors argued at trial that her text messages supported their claim that Carter caused Roy’s d***h by “wantonly and recklessly” helping him poison himself.
We need not to be self-centered; we should think of the sake of others, too. With this news, it is clear that our actions would be the answer to our future; be good, have faith, and make sure you are doing the right thing.
Featured image via allthatisinteresting