iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A Massachusetts judge on Friday is set to announce the verdict in the involuntary manslaughter trial of 20-year-old Michelle Carter, who is accused of urging her then-boyfriend to commit suicide three years ago.
Conrad Roy was 18 when he died in July 2014 of carbon monoxide poisoning after locking himself in his truck.
The prosecution claimed Carter, then 17, was reckless and caused his death by telling Roy to get back in the car even though they say he didn’t want to die.
But during the trial Carter maintained her innocence.
“Conrad Roy was on this path to take his own life for years,” her lawyers argued.
Prosecutor Maryclare Flynn argued in opening statements that Carter “used Conrad as a pawn in a sick game of life and death for attention.” The testimony of several of Carter’s classmates supported the prosecution’s argument that Carter didn’t have many friends and pushed Roy to suicide to get more attention.
According to testimony, on July 12, 2014, the day of Roy’s suicide, Carter texted a classmate, “He just called me and there was a loud noise like a motor … I heard moaning … I stayed on the phone for like 20 minutes and that’s all I heard. … I think he just killed himself.”
On July 14, according to testimony, Carter texted a classmate, “I do blame myself, it’s my fault. I was talking to him while he killed himself.”
On July 21, Carter texted a classmate that Roy’s mother told her that detectives were going through Roy’s belongings.
“They have to go through his phone and see if anyone encouraged him to do it,” Carter texted. “I’m done. His family will hate me and I could go to jail.”
Carter texted a classmate in September 2014, “I could’ve stopped him.” Carter texted that she and Roy were on the phone the day of his suicide in July when Roy “got out of the car … he was scared.”
Carter texted that she “told him to get back in.”
The defense argued that Carter had previously tried to talk Roy out of harming himself and the defense pointed to one conversation where Roy told Carter he regretted dragging her into his plans to kill himself.
A digital forensic analyst who testified for the defense said Roy had searched online for ways to commit suicide.
The analyst said that on July 11, 2014, Roy sent a website screenshot about carbon monoxide to Carter. That day Roy also sent Carter an image of a portable generator.
“It is not a homicide,” lawyers for Carter said.
The defense added, “Even if somebody supports another individual in a suicide, it doesn’t create a homicide.”
Carter is charged as a youthful offender, which means that even though she was a minor at the time of the alleged crime, she is charged as an adult.
If convicted, she could face 20 years in prison.
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