In texts shared between a teen who killed himself and the girlfriend who prosecutors allege encouraged him to do so, Michelle Carter allegedly suggested several possible methods to Conrad Roy, according to testimony Thursday in her involuntary manslaughter trial.
“Hang yourself, jump off a building, stab yourself idk there’s a lot of ways,” Carter, then 17, allegedly wrote to Roy, 18, on July 6, 2014, according to tweets by reporters attending the trial. The text was sent seven days before Roy’s body was found in his truck parked outside a Kmart in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, dead of carbon monoxide poisoning.
A day earlier, on July 5, Carter allegedly wrote to Roy: “You have to do something quick that will end it without having to worry about the pain.”
And on July 4, in another text, Carter allegedly wrote: “You said you wanted this bad, I knew you weren’t gonna try hard.”
Carter, now 20, faces 20 years in prison if convicted on the involuntary manslaughter charge. Prosecutors allege that she was trying to draw attention to herself as the girlfriend of a depressed and suicidal boyfriend, and that she urged him to act via a series of texts, along with phone calls on the night he took his life that she later allegedly described to others, texting a friend “I heard him die.”
Carter has pleaded not guilty. Her defense attorney, Joseph P. Cataldo, noted that selective reading of the texts by investigators overlooks others in which Carter encouraged Roy to get help.
On the stand, Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Bates read a text from Roy to Carter that said, “I keep regretting the past it’s getting me upset,” CBSBoston reports.
Carter responded by writing: “Take your life?”
“Do you think I should,” Roy wrote back.
Roy, who recently had earned his sea captain’s license and been accepted to college and was remembered by his friends as funny, nonetheless struggled with anxiety and depression. He was known to have tried suicide at least once previously, those friends said.
Bates said Carter had discussed options via text with Roy for suicide that included sleeping pills.
“I just don’t want the pain,” Roy wrote.
Challenged by Carter’s defense attorney, Bates acknowledged that in other texts, Carter offers Roy help to counter his depression.
‘I Have a Lot to Offer Someone’
Also in court Thursday, the prosecution played videos made by Roy on June 13, 2014 — exactly one month before his body was found — which were discovered on his computer after he died. (An autopsy could not pinpoint the time of his death, although his final text exchanges with Carter take place on the night of July 14.)
“This is Conrad Henry Roy III reporting to you about what’s going on through my mind. What’s going on through my head the last few days,” Roy began on one video, according to reports. “I’m trying to do too much to better myself in so little time.”
While he describes his ambition to make changes and better fit in, he also says: “What I am doing is looking at myself so negatively. Look at myself minuscule, little particle on the face of this earth. No-good trash. Will never be successful. Never have no life, never have kids, never, never learn. …
“But I have a lot to offer someone,” Roy said. “I’m introverted, nice and caring. With some benefits. I’m a nice kid. But it comes to a point where I’m just … too nice.”
The prosecution wrapped its case Thursday, on the third day of testimony.
Carter’s attorney indicated that he will move on Friday to dismiss the charge, which is being considered without a jury by Judge Lawrence Moniz in Taunton District Court.
Suicide Prevention: What to Know
Experts say some common warning signs of suicide include discussing a desire to die or feeling 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.