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Girlfriend whose texts urged suicide found guilty

  • Michelle Carter cries after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Conrad Roy III, Friday, in Bristol Juvenile Court in Taunton, Mass. ap photo

  • Judge Lawrence Moniz explains the reasoning behind his decision to find Michelle Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Conrad Roy III., Friday, June 16, 2017, in Bristol Juvenile Court in Taunton, Mass.(Glenn C.Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News, Pool via AP) Glenn C.Silva

  • Michelle Carter cries while flanked by defense attorneys Joseph Cataldo, left, and Cory Madera, after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Conrad Roy III, Friday, June 16, 2017, in Bristol Juvenile Court in Taunton, Mass. (Glenn C.Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News, Pool) Glenn C.Silva

  • Michelle Carter’s parents listen to Judge Lawrence Moniz before he gives his verdict on Friday, in Taunton, Mass. ap photo

  • Michelle Carter, right, seated with her attorneys Cory Madera, left, and Joseph Cataldo listens to the judge before he finds her guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Conrad Roy III, Friday, June 16, 2017, in Bristol Juvenile Court in Taunton, Mass. (Glenn C.Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News, Pool) Glenn C. Silva

  • Lynn Roy, mother of Conrad Roy, holds the hand of an unidentified man as she leaves the court house after Michelle Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the texting suicide death of her son in Bristol County Juvenile Court Friday, June 16, 2017, in Taunton, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) Stephan Savoia

  • Lynn Roy, mother of Conrad Roy, holds the hand of an unidentified man as she leaves the court house after Michelle Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the texting suicide death of her son in Bristol County Juvenile Court Friday, June 16, 2017, in Taunton, Mass. Carter will be sentenced on Aug. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) Stephan Savoia

  • Camdyn Roy, sister of Conrad Roy, leaves the court house after Michelle Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the texting suicide death of her brother in Bristol County Juvenile Court Friday, June 16, 2017, in Taunton, Mass. Carter will be sentenced on Aug. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) Stephan Savoia

  • Defense attorney Joseph Cataldo, says his defendant, Michelle Carter, was disappointed with being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the texting suicide death of Conrad Roy III as he leaves the Bristol County court house Friday, June 16, 2017, in Taunton, Mass. Carter will be sentenced on Aug. 3. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) Stephan Savoia

  • Conrad Roy Jr. makes a statement to the press after Michelle Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Mr. Roy's son, Conrad Roy III., Friday, June 16, 2017, in Bristol Juvenile Court in Taunton, Mass.(Glenn C.Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News, Pool via AP) Glenn C. Silva

  • Friends and family members of Conrad Roy III listen as Judge Lawrence Moniz announces his verdict on Friday, June 16, 2017, in Bristol Juvenile Court in Taunton, Mass. Michelle Carter was found Guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Roy. (Glenn C.Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News, Pool) Glenn C. Silva

  • Prosecutor Katie Rayburn, left, reads a statement, with prosecutor Maryclare Flynn after Michelle Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Conrad Roy III, Friday, June 16, 2017, in Bristol Juvenile Court in Taunton, Mass. (Glenn C.Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News, Pool) Glenn C. Silva

  • Prosecutor Katie Rayburn, center, reads a statement, with prosecutor Maryclare Flynn after Michelle Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Conrad Roy III, Friday, June 16, 2017, in Bristol Juvenile Court in Taunton, Mass. Fairhaven police and members of the Roy family along with friends stand behind prosecutors. (Glenn C.Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News, Pool) Glenn C. Silva

  • Friends and family members of Conrad Roy III listen as Judge Lawrence Moniz announces his verdict Friday, June 16, 2017, in Bristol Juvenile Court in Taunton, Mass. Michelle Carter was found Guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Conrad Roy III. (Glenn C.Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News, Pool) Glenn C. Silva

  • Prosecutor Katie Rayburn reads a statement with prosecutor Maryclare Flynn, right, after Michelle Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Conrad Roy III, Friday, June 16, 2017, in Bristol Juvenile Court in Taunton, Mass. Fairhaven police and members of the Roy family along with friends stand behind prosecutors. (Glenn C.Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News, Pool) Glenn C. Silva



Associated Press
Friday, June 16, 2017

TAUNTON — A woman who sent her boyfriend a barrage of text messages urging him to kill himself when they were both teenagers was convicted Friday of involuntary manslaughter in a trial that raised questions about whether words can kill.

The judge found that Michelle Carter caused the death of Conrad Roy III, who intentionally filled his truck with carbon monoxide in a Fairhaven store parking lot in July 2014.

Carter, who faces up to 20 years in prison, cried and clutched a handkerchief to her face as Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz detailed her conduct and the circumstances of Roy’s death, but she was stoic when the verdict was formally pronounced. As spectators and members of both the Roy and Carter families left the courtroom, she sat at the defense table, sobbing, while her lawyers tried to comfort her.

The judge focused his ruling on three words Carter said to the 18-year-old Roy after he climbed out of his truck as it was filling with toxic gas and told her he was scared.

“Get back in,” Carter told Roy, according to a friend who testified that Carter described the conversation in a text message to her about a month after Roy died.

The judge said those words constituted “wanton and reckless conduct.”

He said Carter, then 17, had a duty to call someone for help when she knew Roy was attempting suicide. Yet she did not call the police or Roy’s family, he noted.

“She did not issue a simple additional instruction: Get out of the truck,” the judge said.

The case provided a disturbing look at teen depression and suicide. Carter and Roy met in Florida in 2012 while both were on vacation with their families. Their relationship consisted mainly of texting and other electronic communications. They only met in person a handful of times.

Both teens struggled with depression. Carter had also been treated for anorexia, and Roy had made earlier suicide attempts.

The sensational trial was closely watched in legal circles and a hot topic on social media, in part because of the insistent tone of text messages Carter sent to Roy.

“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,” Carter wrote to Roy the day of his suicide.

“I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you’re ready ... just do it babe,” she wrote in another text that day.

In the end, the judge found that it was not the coercive text messages that caused Roy’s death. It was Carter’s insistence that he get back in the truck.

The judge ruled that Carter can remain free on bail but ordered her not to make any contact with Roy’s family or leave the state. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 3.

Carter’s lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, argued that Roy was determined to kill 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.

The judge said he did not take into account in his verdict Roy’s previous suicide attempts.

Roy’s father said the family was pleased with the conviction. “This has been a very tough time for our family, and we’d like to just process this verdict that we are happy with,” Conrad Roy Jr. said.

Assistant District Attorney Katie Rayburn said the case dealt with important societal issues, “but in the end, the case was really about one young man and one young woman who were brought together by tragic circumstances.”