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Woman accused of urging boyfriend to kill himself via texts goes on trial

The court heard that Michelle Carter played a “sick game” with another person’s life.

michelle Defendant Michelle Carter listens as prosecutor Maryclare Flynn makes her opening statement yesterday Source: Pat Greenhouse/AP/Press Association Images

A WOMAN CHARGED with using text messages to encourage her boyfriend to kill himself played a “sick game” with another person’s life, a prosecutor has said.

In dozens of text messages and telephone calls, Michelle Carter, then 17, repeatedly urged Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself, prosecutor Maryclare Flynn said in opening statements at Carter’s manslaughter trial yesterday.

Roy was sitting in his pickup truck in the car park outside a shop in July 2014 as the truck filled with carbon monoxide. After he exited the truck, Carter told him to “get back in”, Flynn said at the trial in juvenile court in Taunton.

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.

Rarely met

Defence attorney, Joseph Cataldo, however, painted a starkly contrasting picture of Carter, who’s now 20.

Roy 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, he said.

It was Carter who urged him to get help, Cataldo said.

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 Massachusetts — Roy in Mattapoisett and Carter in Plainville. They communicated mostly through text messages and phone calls.

texts Michelle Carter's text messages displayed during the trial Source: Pat Greenhouse/AP/Press Association Images

When Roy suggested they should be like Romeo and Juliet, the lovers who killed themselves in the Shakespeare play, Carter said she didn’t want them to die, 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.”

Medication

Carter had her own mental health struggles and was taking medication that may have clouded her judgment, he said.

The first witness on the stand was Roy’s mother, Lynn Roy. She testified that she took a walk on the beach with her son hours before he was found dead and he showed no signs he intended to harm himself. She called police later when she noticed her son’s truck was missing.

She also testified that after her son’s death she received text messages from Carter expressing sympathy but not mentioning any prior knowledge about suicide plans.

Under cross-examination she acknowledged there was tension between her son and his father.

Camdyn Roy, Conrad Roy’s 16-year-old sister, who was 13 at the time of his death, told a similar story on the stand. Her brother did not seem sad at the beach, she testified. She also received text messages from Carter offering support after her brother’s death but no indication they had been in contact.

The case is being tried without a jury in juvenile court because Carter was a juvenile 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.

If you need to talk, contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Comments are closed due to ongoing legal proceedings.

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Associated Press

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