Michelle Carter, now 20, is on trial for allegedly pushing her then-teenage boyfriend Conrad Roy to kill himself in 2014. She now faces 20 years in prison if charged with involuntary manslaughter. Learn more about Michelle and the disturbing trial here.
Is Michelle Carter, 20, responsible for her boyfriend’s death? Michelle was 17 years old when her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, 18, committed suicide on July 13, 2014, by filling his car with carbon monoxide. What prosecutors are trying to find out in 2017 is whether or not Michelle’s texts to Conrad leading up to his death, in which she spoke positively about committing suicide, are criminal. She’s now on trial in Massachusetts to determine if she should be charged with involuntary manslaughter, a charge that could see her facing up to 20 years in prison for the alleged crime. Here’s five things you must now about Michelle and the shocking case:
1. She sent texts to her boyfriend about committing suicide
Michelle’s on trial because of a series of texts she sent Conrad that prosecutors say caused him to commit suicide. Conrad repeatedly messaged her saying that he was reluctant to kill himself, and was trying to back out of his plans. But instead of comforting her severely depressed boyfriend and urging him to get help, Michelle messaged him that he should go through with it. An example of their disturbing conversations, when Conrad apparently decided to put off his suicidal plans and rethink things the next day, but Michelle got upset:
Michelle: “Last night was it. You keep pushing it off and you say you’ll do it (commit suicide), 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?
Conrad: Is it too late? I don’t know. It’s already light outside. I’m gonna go back too [sic] sleep. Love you. I’ll text you tomorrow.
Michelle: 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.
In another text, Michelle told her boyfriend that “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.”
Conrad was found dead the next day in the parking lot of a Kmart just outside Boston.
2. She was convicted of involuntary manslaughter
Michelle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on June 16. She’s expected to be sentenced for the crime on August 3. The Juvenile Court judge determined that her texts to Conrad “constituted wanton and reckless conduct.” He said that Michelle not calling anyone for help, and for telling him to get back in the car was involuntary manslaughter, despite Conrad also taking “significant actions of his own to end his life.”
3. Assisted suicide through coercion isn’t a crime in Massachusetts
Michelle may not be charged with involuntary manslaughter. A court in summer 2016 ruled that she could stand trial for her alleged role in Conrad’s suicide, but law experts don’t think the judge will charge her: “Usually, manslaughter charges involve direct action by the defendant … some type of horrific unintentional killing where the behavior disregarded a risk, like firing a gun into a crowd,” Daniel Medwed, a law and criminal justice professor at Northeastern University, told The Washington Post. “This is different.
“Defense lawyers are going to argue that he’s had suicidal tendencies predating their relationship. They’re going to emphasize that he was alone in his car, that ultimately it was his decision…” Medwed said. “There may be an issue on the extent to which she was aware of the risk. She knew he was suicidal, but did she know that he was going to go through with it?”
4. She told a friend that Conrad’s death was her fault
Michelle texted an (unnamed) friend after Conrad died, telling them that “he just called me and there was a loud noise like a motor and I heard moaning like someone was in pain and he wouldn’t answer when I said his name I stayed on the phone for like 20 mins and that’s all I heard…His death was my fault … he got out of the car, and I told him to get back in … because I knew he would do it all over again the next day.” She also texted, “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…”
5. Her lawyer said she was allegedly “brainwashed” by Conrad
Eleven days before his death, Conrad sent Michelle a text saying that they should commit suicide together like “Romeo and Juliet.” Michelle refused, according to her lawyer, and told him to come join him at a psychiatric facility in Belmont, MA, where she was staying (Michelle had depression). “[Conrad] ultimately persuaded a young, impressionable girl,” the attorney told reporters.“Eventually he gets her to endorse his plan.”
HollywoodLifers, do you think Michelle will be convicted? Let us know.