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“No more pushing it off”: Teen charged with using text messages to encourage boyfriend to kill himself played “sick game” with human life, says prosecutor

Related: “When are you gonna do it?”: Court documents reveal the shocking text messages from teen accused of encouraging boyfriend to commit suicide


TAUNTON, Mass. (AP) — A teenager charged with using text messages to encourage her boyfriend to kill himself played a “sick game” with another person’s life, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

In dozens of text messages and telephone calls, Michelle Carter, then 17, repeatedly urged Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself, prosecutor Maryclare Flynn said in opening statements at Carter’s manslaughter trial.

Roy was sitting in his pickup in the parking lot of a store in July 2014 as the truck filled with carbon monoxide. After he exited the truck, Carter told him to “get back in,” Flynn said at the trial in juvenile court in Taunton.

Michelle Carter’s text messages are displayed as prosecutor Maryclare Flynn delivers her opening statement in Carter’s trial, Tuesday, June 6, 2017, in Taunton, Mass. Carter is charged with manslaughter for allegedly using text messages to encourage her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)

Carter, who never called authorities or Roy’s parents as he died, wanted the sympathy and attention that came with being the “grieving girlfriend,” Flynn said.

Defense attorney, Joseph Cataldo, however, painted a starkly contrasting picture of Carter, who’s now 20.

Roy was depressed after his parents’ divorce, was physically and verbally abused by family members and had long thought of suicide, even researching suicide methods online, he said.

It was Carter who urged him to get help, Cataldo said.

A photograph of the truck, in which Conrad Roy III killed himself, is projected during testimony in the trial of Michelle Carter, Tuesday, June 6, 2017, in Taunton, Mass. Carter is charged with manslaughter for allegedly using text messages to encourage her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)

The couple met in Florida in 2012 but had only seen each other in person a handful of times even though they lived just 35 miles apart in Massachusetts — Roy in Mattapoisett and Carter in Plainville. They communicated mostly through text messages and phone calls.

Roy family members react when crime-scene photos are projected during the trial of Michelle Carter, Tuesday, June 6, 2017, in Taunton, Mass. Carter is charged with manslaughter for allegedly using text messages to encourage her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)

When Roy suggested they should be like Romeo and Juliet, the lovers who killed themselves in the Shakespeare play, Carter said she didn’t want them to die, Cataldo said.

“Conrad Roy was on this path to take his own life for years,” he said. “It was Conrad Roy’s idea to take his own life. It was not Michelle Carter’s idea. This was a suicide, a sad and tragic suicide, but not a homicide.”

Carter had her own mental health struggles and was taking medications that may have clouded her judgment, he said.

Camdyn Roy, the sister Conrad Roy III, points to the defendant Michelle Carter to identify her while testifying in Carter’s trial, Tuesday, June 6, 2017, in Taunton, Mass. Carter is charged with manslaughter for allegedly using text messages to encourage her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)

The first witness on the stand was Roy’s mother, Lynn Roy.

She testified that she took a walk on the beach with her son hours before he was found dead and he showed no signs he intended to harm himself. She called police later when she noticed her son’s truck missing.

She also testified that after her son’s death, she received text messages from Carter expressing sympathy but not mentioning any prior knowledge about suicide plans.

Under cross-examination she acknowledged there was tension between her son and his father.

Camdyn Roy, Conrad Roy’s 16-year-old sister, who was 13 at the time of his death, told a similar story on the stand. Her brother did not seem sad at the beach, she testified. She also received text messages from Carter offering support after her brother’s death but no indication they had been in contact.

The case is being tried without a jury in juvenile court because Carter was a juvenile when Roy killed himself. Court proceedings are open because she was charged as a juvenile offender, which makes her subject to adult punishment if convicted.

Featured Image: Defendant Michelle Carter listens as prosecutor Maryclare Flynn makes her opening statement Tuesday, June 6, 2017, in Taunton, Mass. Carter is charged with manslaughter for allegedly using text messages to encourage her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)