Michelle Carter, now 20, would absolutely face up to 20 years in jail if prosecutors can attest that her words persuaded Conrad Roy III to end his life. She was telling the 18-year-old Roy who d**d of carbon monoxide poisoning after locking himself in a truck to k**l himself. And he did – this teen kind of manipulated Conrad into taking his own life.
Carter’s act of encouragement was undeniably wrong; however, can it be proven illegal? This week a judge will decide as Carter, sits on trial for involuntary manslaughter. If convicted, Carter could face up to 20 years in prison.
Carter was indicted in 2015 and appealed, taking the case to the state’s Supreme Court. Last summer, the court ruled that she could stand trial for her alleged role in Roy’s d***h.
Roy’s body was found July 13, 1024, in a Kmart parking lot in Fairhaven which was 40 miles away from his home. He was then wearing a blue T-shirt, shorts, and sunglasses. His cell phone was found in the waistband of his shorts. There’s a gasoline engine at the back seat which is no longer running.
Though assisting someone in s*****e is not illegal and it’s not a c***e in Massachusetts, the extent of Carter’s involvement suggests that she didn’t only help Roy carry out the deed, she convinced him to do it.
“You’re ready and prepared. All you have to do is turn the generator on and you will be free and happy,” she wrote, according to a document disseminated by the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. “No more pushing it off,” she allegedly wrote. “No more waiting.”
Prosecutors said on Tuesday that Carter, then 17, exchanged 20,000 text messages with Roy, and more than 1,000 of those were sent in the days leading up to Roy’s last night and in the morning of his d***h on July 12, 2014.
He was scared. Then he texted Carter.
Carter texted, “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.”
“So I guess you aren’t gonna do it then, all that for nothing. I’m just confused like you were so ready and determined.”
“Just go somewhere in your truck. And no one’s really out right now because it’s an awkward time,” she told him.
When Roy seemed to be wavering out about his plan to k**l himself, she pushed him. He told her he wanted to go back to sleep; it was early in the morning.
Carter keeps on texting Roy, “Just park your car and sit there, and it will take, like, 20 minutes. It’s not a big deal.”
This made Roy drove to a Kmart parking lot several miles outside Boston and began pumping carbon monoxide into his car.
At one point, he got scared, left the vehicle, and called Carter on the phone. “Get back in,” she told him.
“I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you’re ready … just do it babe,” she kept on pushing.
And then, prosecutors say, the teen listened for 20 minutes as he cried in pain and d**d.
Carter texted a classmate on July 12, 2014 on the day of Roy’s s*****e, “He just called me and there was a loud noise like a motor … I heard moaning … Stayed on the phone for like 20 minutes and that’s all I heard. … I think he just k****d himself.”
They’re arguing that she used Conrad, who went to a different school, to get attention from her friends. Carter was scared, prosecutors say; that if Roy didn’t follow through with his s*****e, she would look like a liar.
Carter told a friend through text on July 14, 2014, that she was talking to him on the phone when he k****d himself. “I do blame myself, it’s my fault. I was talking to him while he k****d himself.”
“I helped ease him into it and told him it was okay … I could’ve easily stopped him or called the police but I didn’t,” she texted her friend.
On July 21 Carter texted a classmate that Roy’s mother told her that detectives were going through Roy’s belongings.
“They have to go through his phone and see if anyone encouraged him to do it,” Carter texted. “I’m done. His family will hate me and I could go to jail.”
During the opening statements last Tuesday, prosecuting attorney Maryclare Flynn said Carter played a “sick game” with Roy’s life and accused her of seeking sympathy and attention by being the grieving girlfriend.
The defense and Carter’s attorney, Joseph Cataldo justified these arguments by pointing out that Roy had long battled depression for awhile, and he had attempted s*****e before, and that Carter had tried to convince him to get help at an earlier time in their relationship.
“It was Conrad Roy’s idea to take his own life; it was not Michelle’s idea.” Cataldo said. “This was a s*****e case, a sad and tragic s*****e, but not a homicide case.”
The defense added, “Even if somebody supports another individual in a s*****e, it doesn’t create a homicide.”
Meanwhile, the prosecution said, “She … assured him that his family would understand why he did it. She researched logistics and reassured him that he was likely to succeed.”
Carter couldn’t have k****d the teen, the defense says. She was 30 miles away.
After Roy’s d***h, Carter texted his mother, Lynn Roy.
“I loved him, Lynn,” one read. “I know I’m young, but I saw the rest of my life with him.”
The case isn’t completely unprecedented.
Lyn testified that although her son was a little depressed, there was no indication that he might k**l himself. According to her, Roy was a recent high school graduate who had just been accepted to Fitchburg State University to study business.
However, in today’s world, where lives are increasingly experienced online, some argue that texts from an individual may have as much power as the same person’s physical presence.
Determining the weight of individual texts will likely be important in this case, as Carter and Conrad only met in person three times throughout the course of their relationship.
In the ruling, the court found that Carter’s “virtual presence” at the time of the s*****e and the “constant pressure” she had placed on Roy, who was a teen in a delicate mental state, were enough proof for an involuntary manslaughter charge.
Carter waived her right to a jury trial on Monday. A judge will hear her case and issue a verdict.
“The key issue is going to be causation, of who actually caused the d***h,” Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, told The New York Times. “Did she, or did the victim himself?”
Other big questions that need to be answered:
- Can a person be charged and convicted in someone’s d***h even if she was not with the victim when he d**d?
- Can a person be found guilty of k*****g someone based solely on what she said on text messages?