In 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III was found dead in his car. The teen had killed himself by carbon monoxide poisoning from running a portable generator in his vehicle without ventilation. What’s even more disturbing about this teen suicide is that it appears to have been encouraged by Roy’s then 17-year-old girlfriend, Michelle Carter.
Carter actively encouraged her mentally unstable boyfriend to take his own life minutes before his death, and throughout the days leading up to it. Prosecutors showed that when Roy attempted to exit his vehicle, which was full of carbon monoxide, Carter spoke to him on the phone and told him to get back in.
When a transcript of their conversation surfaced, Carter’s lawyers desperately pleaded with the judge to suppress all evidence claiming that she was unlawfully interrogated as a minor. The court refused and later released the brutal conversation to the public. Roy clearly expresses doubts about committing suicide, but Carter doggedly encourages him to take his own life.
The text exchange between Roy and Carter may have been the most damning piece of evidence. Every time Roy showed hesitation, Carter encouraged him to kill himself. According to a court transcript of their text messages, “Carter pushed Roy to take his life even when he seemed unwilling to do so.”
CARTER : You can’t think about it. You just have to do it. You said you were gonna do it. Like I don’t get why you aren’t.
CONRAD: I don’t get it either. I don’t know.
CARTER : So I guess you aren’t gonna do it then. All that for nothing. I’m just confused. Like you were so ready and determined.
CONRAD : I am gonna eventually. I really don’t know what I’m waiting for but I have everything lined up.
CARTER: No, you’re not, Conrad. Last night was it. You kept pushing it off and you say you’ll do it, 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?
The full transcript includes texts in from the days and weeks before Roy’s suicide.
“It’s probably the best time now because everyone is sleeping,” she wrote in a text. “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.”
Carter would regularly check in with Roy to see if he was still alive and admonished him for not “getting on with it.”
“I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you’re ready __ just do it babe,” Carter wrote. She then asked him to delete his text messages after turning on the generator shortly before his suicide.
Last June a 20-year-old Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for pressuring her boyfriend to commit suicide. One year later, Carter is still filing for an appeal. “Carter is the first defendant to have been convicted of killing a person who took his own life, even though she neither provided the fatal means nor was present when the suicide occurred,” her appeal reads. “Nothing in Massachusetts law made clear to 17-year-old Carter, or anyone else, that such circumstances could constitute involuntary manslaughter.”
“This appeal presents novel questions of constitutional and criminal law,” the filing continues. “It will set precedent for who may be prosecuted for encouraging suicide with words alone.”
Massachusetts Judge Lawrence Moniz said the two factors that led to Carter’s conviction were the fact that she encouraged Roy to get back in the truck, which was already filled with carbon monoxide, and her failure to tell anyone else about it.