The trial for Michelle Carter, the 20-year-old Plainville woman accused of coaxing her boyfriend to commit suicide in 2014, is set to begin on Tuesday.
Carter, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of Conrad Roy III, 18, pleaded not guilty and waived her right to a jury Monday. Her trial will be in Bristol County Juvenile Court and will be decided by a single judge.
Prosecutors say that Carter, then 17, helped her boyfriend come up with ways to kill himself and pushed him to follow through, even though he expressed doubts.
Roy was found dead in his truck of carbon monoxide poisoning while parked in a Fairhaven parking lot on July 13, 2014.
Carter had been texting Roy in the days and even hours leading up to his suicide, court documents show, and prosecutors say those messages are at the crux of Roy’s death.
Prosecutors say Carter helped Roy plan his death. In one set of messages, Roy suggested using a hose to direct gases from his truck’s exhaust pipes into the cabin. Carter seemingly approved:
Carter: Yeah, it will work. If you emit 3200 ppm of it for five or ten minutes you will die within a half hour. You lose consciousness with no pain. You just fall asleep and die. You can also just take a hose and run that from the exhaust pipe to the rear window in your car and seal it with duct tape and shirts, so it can’t escape. You will die within, like, 20 or 30 minutes all pain free.
In another exchange, she brings up location:
Carter: Don’t do it in the driveway. You will be easily found. … Find a spot.
Roy: I don’t know. I’m thinking a public place. If I go somewhere private they may call cops.
Carter: Well, then someone will notice you.
Carter: Do you think you will get caught? I mean, it only takes 30 minutes; right?
Carter: Just park your car and sit there and it will take, like, 20 minutes. It’s not a big deal.
Roy told Carter he was “discouraged” about possibly failing at his suicide attempt:
Carter: If you don’t think about it, you won’t think about failing. You’ll just do it and then thinking you’ll succeed.
Roy: Right. That’s what I’m talking about. I read so much about failed attempts gone wrong that it’s gotten me discouraged.
Carter: Yeah, exactly, so stop doing that. There is more success than there are failures.
Roy: Are you kidding me?
Carter: You have to look at it that way and people only fail because they have the same mindset as you. Thinking they’ll fail.
Roy: I really want to believe you.
Carter: Why don’t you.
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.
Roy: 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.
Roy: I am gonna eventually. I really don’t know what I’m waiting for but I have everything lined up.
Roy at times expressed concern over how his suicide would affect his family and hesitation in general. Carter pushed that he just needed “to do it."
Carter: I think your parents know you're in a really bad place. I'm not saying they want you to do it but I honestly feel like they can accept it.
They know there is nothing they can do. They’ve tried helping. Everyone’s tried, but there is a point that comes where there isn’t anything anyone can do to save you, not even yourself.
Everyone will be sad for a while but they will get over it and move on … I think they will understand and accept it.
Carter also seemed to express frustration as Roy got more hesitant:
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.
Roy: 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.
Roy: I am gonna eventually. I really don't know what I'm waiting for but I have everything lined up.
On July 12, 2014, Carter suggested Roy commit suicide during the daytime:
Carter: Are you going to do it today?
Carter: Like in the day time?
Roy: Should I?
Carter: Yeah, it’s less suspicious. You won’t think about it as much and you’ll get it over with instead of wait until the night.
Roy: Yeah then I will. Like where? Like I could go in any enclosed area.
Carter: Go in your truck and drive in a parking lot somewhere, to a park or something. Do it like early. Do it now, like early.
Roy: Like, why am I so hesitant lately. Like two weeks ago I was willing to try everything and now I’m worse, really bad, and I’m LOL not following through. It’s eating me inside.
Carter: You’re so hesitant because you keeping over thinking it and keep pushing it off. You just need to do it, Conrad. The more you push it off, the more it will eat at you. You’re ready and prepared. All you have to do is turn the generator on and you will be free and happy. No more pushing it off. No more waiting.
Roy. You’re right.
Roy: Okay. I’m gonna do it today.
Carter: You promise?
Roy: I promise, babe. I have to now.
Carter: Like right now?
Roy: Where do I go?
Carter: And you can’t break a promise. And just go in a quiet parking lot or something.
Following Roy’s death, Carter reached out to a friend, according to court documents, and expressed concern about her involvement in the situation:
Carter: A couple of days before leading up to it I guess I kind of let him do it.
I knew he was in the K-mart f—en parking lot. I knew he was going to use the generator to inhale carbon monoxide. I knew it all.
I knew what he was going to do but I didn't call anyone to stop him.
Carter: His death was my fault. Like, honestly I could have stopped it. I was the one on the phone with him and he got out of the car because he was working and he got scared and I [expletive] told him to get back in … If they read my messages I'm done. His family will hate me and I could go to jail.