Charles Krupa / AP
Michelle Carter, 20, who encouraged her 18-year-old boyfriend — through text messages — to kill himself, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by a Massachusetts judge on Friday.
Conrad Roy killed himself on July 12, 2014, by inhaling carbon monoxide produced by a water pump in his truck. The teen — who had a history of mental illness and had previously attempted suicide — got out of the truck because he was “scared,” but Carter texted him to “get back in,” according to the thousands of text messages the two exchanged during the course of their relationship.
Carter waived her right to a jury trial, leaving her fate to be decided by Judge Lawrence Moniz. On Friday, Moniz returned a guilty verdict.
Prosecutors argued that through text messages and phone calls, Carter, 17 at the time, pressured Roy to kill himself, instructed him as to when and how to do it, assuaged his concerns over killing himself, and chastised him when he delayed doing so. They said that Carter used Roy as a “pawn in her sick game of life and death” and wanted to be “the grieving girlfriend” to gain her peers' attention and sympathy that she always craved.
Carter's defense team said that Roy was “suicidal” over a long period of time and that he “was on this path to take his own life for years.” Her lawyers argued that since Carter was 30 miles away when Roy killed himself, she was not the cause of his death. They said his death was a suicide, not a homicide.
A controversial psychiatrist, Dr. Peter Breggin, testified Monday, that Carter was “involuntarily intoxicated” by antidepressants which made her “delusional” and “grandiose.”
Breggin said Carter thought she was “doing a good thing” by encouraging Roy to kill himself.
Carter's lawyers argued that she had her own “mental health issues” at the time of Roy's death and was “overwhelmed” by the relationship.
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