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Teen Who Urged Boyfriend to Commit Suicide Convicted of Manslaughter


In July 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III attempted to take his own life. The young man got in his truck in a store parking lot, plugged the exhaust, and began to breathe the carbon monoxide. Soon, however, he became scared. He exited the truck and texted his girlfriend, Michelle Carter, then 17. Instead of calling police or an ambulance, instead of attempting to soothe and comfort her suicidal boyfriend, Carter replied with three words: "Get back in." Roy did as his girlfriend commanded, getting back into the fume-filled truck and ending his life. He was found in his truck in the store parking lot, dead of carbon monoxide poisoning.

A month after Roy's suicide, Carter confided to a friend that she told Roy to get back in the truck when he texted her to tell her he was scared. The friend reported that Carter told her she told Roy, "You need to do it."

Now, nearly three years after Roy's death, his former girlfriend has been found guilty of manslaughter for encouraging the depressed teen to take his own life. An investigation shows that during the weeks preceding the suicide, Carter continually urged Roy to follow through with his suicidal thoughts. In one message, she wrote, "I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you’re ready, you just need to do it!"

In another message, sent the day Roy killed himself, she wrote, "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."

Carter's defense argued that she herself was depressed and taking the anti-depressant Celexa, which targets the frontal lobe of the brain, the area that controls empathy and decision making processes. Her attorney stated that Roy had a history of depression and attempted suicide, and that Carter initially tried to talk her boyfriend out of killing himself and urged him to seek help. Eventually, however, she went along with his choice, feeling that she was helping him to get what he really wanted.

The judge, however, said that he did not consider any previous suicide attempts in reaching his verdict; rather, he was acting based on the events that led to Roy's suicide.

A Massachusetts Juvenile Court Judge found Carter, now 20, guilty of involuntary manslaughter. She is free on bail pending sentencing under the conditions that she does not contact Roy's family and that she does not leave the state. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 20. She faces up to 20 years in prison.

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