US woman on trial accused of pushing boyfriend to suicide

2017-06-07 22:22
Michelle Carter listens as prosecutor Maryclare Flynn makes her opening statement. (Pat Greenhouse, The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)

Michelle Carter listens as prosecutor Maryclare Flynn makes her opening statement. (Pat Greenhouse, The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - A 20-year-old woman went on trial in the US state of Massachusetts on Tuesday, accused of persuading her teenage boyfriend to kill himself, in a case that could break new legal ground.

Michelle Carter is charged with involuntary manslaughter and has waived her right to a jury trial, meaning her fate will be decided by a judge. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Conrad Roy, 18, was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in his pickup truck in a parking lot in July 2014.

The prosecution contends that Carter and Roy exchanged hundreds of text messages in which Carter urged him to follow through on his plan to kill himself.

"By her wanton and reckless conduct, she committed a felony," assistant district attorney Maryclare Flynn told the court in Taunton, south of Boston. "She put him in the car that night. She listened to him as he died."

"When are you going to do it? Stop ignoring the question," added the prosecutor, reading from one of Carter's alleged text messages. "Just do it babe," the defendant allegedly wrote in another.

The prosecution says Carter helped Roy devise the plan to use carbon monoxide poisoning, encouraged him to conceal it from his parents, lie to his mother and select a secluded parking lot.

'Needy person' 

The defendant was a "very needy person" with few friends who used Roy as a "pawn" to get attention from girls at high school, the prosecutor argued.

"She has to be the grieving girlfriend to get the sympathy and the attention that she believes she deserves," Flynn said.

While legal experts say Carter may have encouraged him to take his own life, they have questioned whether it is enough to secure a conviction under involuntary manslaughter.

The northeastern state of Massachusetts, unlike other US states, has no law against encouraging someone to commit suicide.

"This is a suicide case," defence lawyer Joseph Cataldo told the court. "It is not a homicide."

Roy had been on a path to suicide "for years", he said. Carter urged him to seek professional help and suffered from her own mental health frailties, he added.

The defence also sought to minimise Carter's role in her boyfriend's life, saying the pair were in a "long-term texting relationship" and had met in person only a handful of times.

Carter is being tried in a juvenile court. In the months after Roy's death, she reportedly raised hundreds of dollars for mental health awareness.

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Does your dog have separation anxiety?

We've got tips, advice and how to help your dog

 
 

Paws

Fascinating facts about dogs
Perfectly captured cat snapchats!
Out with the old dog, in with the new
Play with your pet when you're not at home
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.