The judge will hear those arguments and return a verdict in the bench trial in which Carter, 20, stands accused of urging her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy to kill himself in 2014, when she was 17. If convicted, Carter, who pleaded not guilty, could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.
On Tuesday morning, the prosecution tried poking holes in testimony offered Monday by the sole defense witness, Dr. Peter Breggin, who spoke about the effects of Celexa, a medication that treats depression and anxiety, which Carter was preescribed not long before Roy’s suicide. Breggin said the drug may have impeded Carter’s abilities to empathize with others and make sound decisions, and that she likely “was having a psychotic delusion” as a result of the medication, reports the Boston Globe.
According to the Globe, the prosecution on Tuesday alleged that Carter has a history of lying to adults after Breggin acknowledged he had used the defendant’s own text and Facebook messages in his analysis of her mental state.
On Tuesday, the prosecutor cited several text messages Carter allegedly sent to friends in which she expresses her fears about being prosecuted and going to prison over Roy’s suicide, the Globe reports.
The prosecution also said Carter sent a text to a friend claiming Roy had gone missing, but then, seconds later, texted Roy himself, the paper reports.
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Roy was found dead in his truck on July 13, 2014, from carbon monoxide poisoning. A hose attached to a portable generator fed the fatal fumes into his vehicle, which was parked outside of a Kmart in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.
Defense attorneys for Carter have argued Roy was going to commit suicide with or without her input, and that Carter was not the decisive influence.
Prosecutors have cited more than 1,000 texts Carter and Roy in the week prior to his death, along with accounts she relayed to others, to allege that she knew he wanted to kill himself and pushed him to do so.
The prosecution alleges that Carter urged Roy to suicide to draw attention to herself.
Prosecutors allege Carter acted recklessly when she pressured Roy into suicide. Carter had told her peers via text message that she had listened over her cellphone as Roy died.
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.