Friday 28 July 2017

Teen played 'sick game' to encourage boyfriend to kill himself, court told

Defendant Michelle Carter listens in court. Photo: AP
Defendant Michelle Carter listens in court. Photo: AP

Rachael Alexander in Boston

A teenager accused of using text messages to encourage her boyfriend to kill himself played a "sick game" with another person's life, a prosecutor said.

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 Ms Carter's trial for involuntary manslaughter.

Mr Roy was sitting in his pickup in a car park in July 2014 as the truck filled with carbon monoxide. After he exited the truck, Ms Carter told him to "get back in", Ms Flynn told the juvenile court in Taunton, Massachusetts.

Ms Carter, who never called authorities or Mr Roy's parents as he died, allegedly wanted the sympathy and attention that came with being the "grieving girlfriend", Ms Flynn said.

Mr Roy was depressed after his parents' divorce, was physically and verbally abused by family members and had long thought of suicide, researching suicide methods online. It was Ms Carter who urged him to get help, defence lawyer Joseph Cataldo said. The couple met in Florida in 2012 but had only seen each other in person a handful of times even though they lived just 55km apart in Massachusetts - Mr Roy in Mattapoisett and Ms Carter in Plainville.

They communicated mostly by text messages and phone calls.

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

"Conrad Roy was on this path to take his own life for years. 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."

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

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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