A 20-year-old girl is facing 20 years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 18-year-old boyfriend, 3 years ago.
Michelle Carter was charged in 2014 with the death of Conrad Roy III who was found dead in his pickup truck after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning.
Prosecutors said the then 17-year-old teen had persuaded Conrad to kill himself as a bid for attention as the grieving girlfriend.
«She used Conrad as a pawn in her sick game of life and death,» said prosecutor Maryclare Flynn.
Michelle and Conrad met while on vacation in Florida several years earlier, while she referred to herself as his girlfriend, his family and friends said they never knew of the relationship. The couple communicated mainly through text and emails because they lived 50 miles apart, and had not seen each other in nearly a year.
As investigators stated in a police affidavit, “It is believed that Carter acted in this way because she was planning to continue to encourage Conrad to take his own life, so as a result she was beginning to put together a plan to get sympathy from her friends, which was evident because at this point she already started explaining that it’s her fault that Conrad is dead, even though he was still alive and speaking and texting with her regularly.”
On July 10, 2 days before Conrad’s suicide, Michelle was said to have carried out a «dry run».
«She knew her plan to get attention would work because she pre-tested it,» prosecutors said.
She had texted several girls that Conrad had gone missing, while texting Conrad telling him to get the gas machine at the same time.
Defense attorney Joseph Cataldo indicated that Conrad was previously suicidal and Michelle had previously talked him out of taking his own life.
It was said that Conrad was depressed over the divorce of his parents and was the victim of physical abuse by a relative.
«This is a suicide case,» he said, «not a not a homicide.»
Conrad has attempted suicide and had been hospitalized before meeting Michelle.
In a text message sent 2 weeks before his suicide, he wrote about his desire to end his life again.
«I can’t get better,» he wrote. «I already made my decision.»
In the hours before his death, prosecutors said that he was on the phone with Michelle for 47 minutes, at one point saying that he was getting out of the truck because he was worried it wasn’t working.
«The car was filling up, and he was scared,» said prosecutor Flynn. «She told him to get back in the car.»
In the days before his suicide Michelle had sent him a text message that read, «Don’t be scared. You’re finally to be happy in Heaven.»
Conrad’s body was later found in his truck in a Kmart parking lot in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, after his parents reported him missing.
In the back seat of his truck, police found a gasoline-operated water pump that was used to create the carbon monoxide that led to his death.
Police also found the text messages after looking through his phone.
Michelle knew that she was going to be in trouble with police for her involvement in his death.
«They read my messages with him I’m done… His family will hate me and I could go to jail,» Michelle wrote to a friend.
The grieving girlfriend appeared in court on Tuesday wearing a salmon pink jacket. She waived her right to a jury, which means the judge will hear the testimony and issue a verdict based on his judgement.
«We’re going to be presenting the case just as I would with a jury, and we’re optimistic about the outcome,» defense attorney Joseph Cataldo said.
Michelle and Conrad has exchanged more than 20,000 text messages, 1,000 of which were sent in the days leading up to his death.
Dozens of messages revealed that she urged him to take his own life.
Michelle’s lawyer argued that after failing to be able to talk him out of it repeatedly, she began to support his plan when it was clear that he wasn’t going to change his mind.
After his death Michelle organized a baseball tournament in Conrad’s memory- but it was hosted in Plainville- her hometown not his.
Roy’s best friend Thomas Gammell asked her to move the memorial game but she refused.
They exchanged texts and it became clear that she wanted to ensure she got credit for organizing the game.
«Ok awesome thank you! You’re not taking credit for my idea, right?» she text him.
When Thomas took the stand, he said he had never heard of Michelle until after Conrad’s death.
Conrad’s mother Lynn Roy broke down in tears during her testimony on the stand when she spoke of her son’s struggle with depression.
She said that on the night he died, she and her son went for a walk along the beach, laughing and joking and talking about life.
‘You think your kids are doing better,’ Lynn said.
Court proceedings are open because she was charged as a juvenile offender, which makes her subject to adult punishment if she is convicted.