One of Conrad Roy III’s friends tells PEOPLE he is pleased with Friday’s guilty verdict in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Roy’s ex-girlfriend Michelle Carter, who encouraged Roy’s 2014 suicide.
“I think it was a good decision — the right decision,” explains Mike Harkins, who says he still misses his high school friend. “At the end of the day, she has to live with what happened for the rest of her life.”
Harkins says he closely followed Carter’s trial this month and was glad to see her convicted.
“I am happy she was found guilty, because you can’t do stuff like that and expect to get away with it,” he says.
“With all the media coverage, I think people will recognize her whenever she goes out,” he continues. “She will have to live with that and deal with it the rest of her life.”
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Harkins says not a week goes by without thoughts of Roy crossing his mind.
“My friends and I think of Conrad often,” he says. “If we are ever near the [scene of the suicide], and we see that area, we’ll think of him and think about what it would be like if he were still here.”
In court in Bristol County, Massachusetts, on Friday, a judge found that Carter recklessly and willfully caused Roy’s death in July 2014 — specifically urging him, as he wavered in his decision, to get back into his pickup truck as it filled with poisonous carbon monoxide.
Roy, 18, was found dead in the truck on July 13, 2014.
At trial, Carter’s defense attorneys argued Roy was going to kill himself with or without her input and that Carter was not a key influence — arguments that the judge rejected.
Prosecutors have cited more than 1,000 texts Carter and Roy exchanged in the week prior to his death, along with accounts she relayed to others, to show that she knew her boyfriend wanted to kill himself and pushed him to do so.
According to the prosecution, Carter played a “sick game” with Roy’s life and used his suicide to draw attention to herself.
It remains unclear if Carter’s attorneys will appeal Friday’s verdict. She will be sentenced on Aug. 3 and faces 20 years in prison.
Suicide Prevention: What to Know
Experts say some common warning signs of suicide include discussing a desire to die or feeling anxious or hopeless, like a burden, or trapped or in pain; withdrawing from others; extreme mood swings, including anger and recklessness; and abnormal sleep patterns (sleeping too much or too little).
Many suicides have multiple causes and are not triggered by one event, according to experts, who underline that suicidal crises can be overcome with help. Where mental illness is a factor, it can be treated.
Reaching out to those in need is a simple and effective preventative measure, experts say.
If you or someone you know is showing warning signs of suicide, consider contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK, texting the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or seeking help from a professional.