Prosecutor: Teen in texting suicide case wanted attention

The Associated Press

TAUNTON, Mass. — A teenager charged with using text messages to encourage her boyfriend to kill himself played a “sick game” with another person’s life, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

In dozens of text messages and telephone calls, Michelle Carter, then 17, repeatedly urged Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself, prosecutor Maryclare Flynn said in opening statements at Carter’s manslaughter trial.

Defendant Michelle Carter listens as prosecutor Maryclare Flynn makes her opening statement Tuesday, June 6, 2017, in Taunton, Mass. Carter is charged with manslaughter for allegedly using text messages to encourage her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself. 

Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via AP

Roy was sitting in his pickup in the parking lot of a store in July 2014 as the truck filled with carbon monoxide. After he exited the truck, Carter told him to “get back in,” Flynn said at the trial in juvenile court in Taunton.

Carter, who never called authorities or Roy’s parents as he died, wanted the sympathy and attention that came with being the “grieving girlfriend,” Flynn said.

Defense attorney, Joseph Cataldo, however, painted a starkly contrasting picture of Carter, who’s now 20.

Roy was depressed after his parents’ divorce, was physically and verbally abused by family members and had long thought of suicide, even researching suicide methods online, he said.

Roy family members react when crime-scene photos are projected during the trial of Michelle Carter, Tuesday, June 6, 2017, in Taunton, Mass. Carter is charged with manslaughter for allegedly using text messages to encourage her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself. 

Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via AP

It was Carter who urged him to get help, Cataldo said.

The couple met in Florida in 2012 but had only seen each other in person a handful of times even though they lived just 35 miles apart in Massachusetts — Roy in Mattapoisett and Carter in Plainville. They communicated mostly through text messages and phone calls.

When Roy suggested they should be like Romeo and Juliet, the lovers who killed themselves in the Shakespeare play, Carter said she didn’t want them to die, Cataldo said.

“Conrad Roy was on this path to take his own life for years,” he said. “It was Conrad Roy’s idea to take his own life. It was not Michelle Carter’s idea. This was a suicide, a sad and tragic suicide, but not a homicide.”

Carter had her own mental health struggles and was taking medications that may have clouded her judgment, he said.

The first witness on the stand was Roy’s mother, Lynn Roy.

She testified that she took a walk on the beach with her son hours before he was found dead and he showed no signs he intended to harm himself. She called police later when she noticed her son’s truck missing.

She also testified that after her son’s death, she received text messages from Carter expressing sympathy but not mentioning any prior knowledge about suicide plans.

Under cross-examination she acknowledged there was tension between her son and his father.

Camdyn Roy, Conrad Roy’s 16-year-old sister, who was 13 at the time of his death, told a similar story on the stand. Her brother did not seem sad at the beach, she testified. She also received text messages from Carter offering support after her brother’s death but no indication they had been in contact.

The case is being tried without a jury in juvenile court because Carter was a juvenile when Roy killed himself. Court proceedings are open because she was charged as a juvenile offender, which makes her subject to adult punishment if convicted.””

Michelle Carter’s text messages are displayed as prosecutor Maryclare Flynn delivers her opening statement in Carter’s trial, Tuesday, June 6, 2017, in Taunton, Mass. Carter is charged with manslaughter for allegedly using text messages to encourage her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself. 

Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool

SportsPlus

Local News

Firefighter training now available for Vernon students

Local News

A rainy-day groundbreaking for the new McNeese Student Union building

Local News

Harris tells Wisconsin crowd election will be ‘a choice between freedom and chaos’

Crime

7/22: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

life

Back-to-school movie night, supply drive set for Friday

Local News

Johnson on Secret Service director’s resignation: ‘Happy to see she heeded our calls’

Local News

Secret Service director resigns after assassination attempt on Donald Trump

McNeese Sports

Things to watch at Cowboy camp

Local News

Johnson, Jeffries announce bipartisan task force to investigate assassination attempt

Local News

Louisiana Democrats thank Biden, support Harris as new nominee

Local News

Construction on 46-unit Mid-City Lofts begins next month

Local News

Daily showers, thunderstorms expected this week

Crime

7/22: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

McNeese Sports

New-look Cowboys picked sixth

Local News

Harris praises Biden’s ‘unmatched’ legacy, looks to lock up the Democratic nomination

Business

Tellurian to be acquired by Woodside Energy Group in $900M all-cash payment

Crime

LSU cornerback arrested on accusation of video voyeurism, authorities say

Local News

Secret Service acknowledges denying some past requests by Trump’s campaign for tighter security

Local News

Biden wants to pass baton to Kamala Harris

Local News

BREAKING: Biden drops out of race

Local News

Secret Service chief noted ‘zero fail mission,’ facing calls to resign

Local News

Students explore possible careers in athletic training

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Constitution plan resurrected

high-school Sports

New concession stand added to plans for football stadium