The highest court in Massachusetts has ordered a woman who coaxed a male friend to commit suicide through a series of text messages to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter.
Conrad Roy III, an 18-year-old from Mattapoisett, died July 13, 2014, after he connected a generator to a truck’s exhaust system, suffocating himself in the cab of the truck. Roy and Michelle Carter (who was 17 at the time) exchanged text messages and spoke by phone for 47 minutes while he was in the truck. Authorities allege that she convinced Roy to follow through with the act after he stepped outside and expressed fear about going through with killing himself.
“We conclude that, on the evidence presented to the grand jury, the verbal conduct at issue was sufficient and, because a conviction of involuntary manslaughter is punishable by imprisonment in State prison and inherently involves the infliction of serious bodily harm, the grand jury properly returned an indictment under the youthful offender statute,’’ Justice Robert Cordy said in a court statement.
“I hope they hold her accountable for her actions,” the dead teen’s grandfather, Conrad Roy Sr., told the Boston Globe. “She told him to get back in the truck. She prodded him on. All of the text messages are pretty much self-explanatory.”
Carter was 17 years old at the time of Roy’s suicide. She was indicted as a youthful offender on a charge of involuntary manslaughter by the office of Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III in 2015. Quinn has recused himself because of personal ties to Roy’s family, but his office has retained control of the case.
The excerpt of the text exchanges between Carter and Roy took place the day of his suicide:
CARTER: You can’t think about it. You just have to do it. You said you were gonna do it. Like I don’t get why you aren’t.
ROY: I don’t get it either. I don’t know.
Carter: 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.
ROY: I am gonna eventually. I really don’t know what I’m waiting for but I have everything lined up.
CARTER: No, you’re not, Conrad. Last night was it. You kept pushing it off and you say you’ll do it, but you never do. It’s always gonna be that way if you don’t take action. You’re just making it harder on yourself by pushing it off. You just have to do it. Do you want to do it now?
ROY: Is it too late? I don’t know. It’s already light outside. I’m gonna go back too sleep. Love you. I’ll text you tomorrow.
CARTER: No. It’s probably the best time now because everyone is sleeping. Just go somewhere in your truck and no one is really out there right now because it’s an awkward time. If you don’t do it now you’re never gonna do it, and you can say you’ll do it tomorrow, but you probably won’t. Tonight? Love you.
ROY: Thank you.
In the hours after Roy’s death, Carter posted on social media messages of sadness, which some believe to be less than genuine.
According to the Daily Mail, Carter has enjoyed her senior prom and a trip to Disney World while awaiting her manslaughter trial.
Michelle Carter’s mother, Gail Carter, has been posting images to her daughter’s social media pages showing her on trips and hanging out with friends – activities her alleged victim, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, will never get to do, his aunt has said.
In a statement, district attorney’s office spokesman Gregg Miliote said prosecutors are now preparing for trial.
“We appreciate the court’s thorough review of the law as it pertains to the facts of this case, and its decision to uphold the juvenile court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to dismiss,’’ he said. “We will now focus our efforts on preparing for the upcoming trial in this case.”
Featured image: Andy Tomolonis (Flickr)