Defense attorneys for Michelle Carter, who is accused of urging friend Conrad Roy to kill himself in 2014, presented evidence at trial on Friday attempting to show Roy was determined to die without any help, according to multiple media reports.
“I want to kill myself what meds shall I take to die while sleeping,” read one online search found on Roy’s computer after his July 2014 death, according to tweets from reporters covering the Massachusetts trial in Taunton District Court.
In another search discovered on Roy’s laptop, an electronics forensic expert said Roy, 18, perused a website titled “easy, quick and painless ways to commit suicide.”
Evidence presented Friday also revealed that Roy had also Googled the phrase “suicide by cop.”
Carter, now 20, is charged with involuntary manslaughter for her alleged role in urging Roy to act on his suicidal thoughts. (She was 17 when Roy died.)
The young man with a history of anxiety and depression 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 that was located parked outside of a Kmart in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.
Carter’s attorney, Joseph P. Cataldo, is working to establish that Roy was determined to go forward on his own with his decision to kill himself, and that Carter was not the decisive influence.
Carter has pleaded not guilty to the charge, which carries a possible penalty of 20 years in prison.
“This is a suicide case, not a homicide,” Cataldo said earlier this week in his opening statement, CNN reports. “It was his choice. She didn’t cause his death.”
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
On Friday, Cataldo expanded on his allegation that Carter — who friends say had earlier attempted suicide — was distraught over his parents’ divorce and had suffered from physical and emotional abuse.
He called to the stand Mattapoisett Police Officer Justin King, who responded in February 2014 to an assault call at Roy’s home and discovered Conrad Roy with injuries to his face.
Cataldo opened his defense after Judge Lawrence Moniz rejected Catado’s motion Friday for acquittal, which followed three days of testimony by the prosecution. “The evidence is insufficient to show that she caused him to die,” Cataldo argued.
Prosecutors have cited more than 1,000 texts exchanged between 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 acted in such a manner to draw attention to herself.
Testimony in the case resumes on Monday.
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.