McGovern: Judge's ruling finds Michelle Carter's words killed Conrad Roy

Posted June 26, 2017

Judge Lawrence Moniz delivered his verdict after deliberating for two days in the jury-waived trial in Bristol Juvenile Court where Carter was being tried as a youthful offender. He died from carbon monoxide poisoning in his pickup truck on July 13, 2014.

Carter's lawyer claimed Roy had a history of depression and suicide attempts and that he was determined to take his own life.

Prosecutors allege that Carter caused Roy's death by relentlessly badgering him with text messages urging him to kill himself. When he became sick because of the fumes, he stepped out of the truck, at which point Carter reportedly ordered him to "get back in". Prosecutors argued that Carter wanted Roy to die so she could play the part of the grieving girlfriend.

Carter will be sentenced on August 3 and faces up to 20 years in prison.

In the Judge's ruling, he outlined that it was both Carter's actions and inaction which led to her guilty verdict.

Defense attorney Joseph Cataldo portrayed Carter as equally emotionally vulnerable and not in full control of her actions because of prescription psychiatric medication that left her with the delusion that she could help Roy by urging his death.

Carter's defense attorney had maintained that the case was one of suicide, not homicide.

"You open up the door to a direction where words now can amount to weapons, this is absolutely all new territory" Harnais said. Specifically, the judge cited the fact that as Roy's truck cab filled with toxic gas, he got out of the vehicle, but was coaxed back in during a subsequent phone call with Carter, who failed to call the police, or Roy's parents, for help.

" 'He came to rely on her more and more than anyone else during that time period, ' Flynn said".

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But still, he said, "trials and verdicts like this don't actually set legal precedent".

Carter, who is now 20, cried in court this afternoon as the judge explained his reasoning. "Do you want to do it now?" And finally, she did not issue a simple additional instruction: "'Get out of the truck.'" the judge said.

Carter's lawyer Joseph Cataldo had argued that Roy was already suicidal before meeting Carter and that Roy was exclusively responsible for his own actions.

In an official statement released by the Massachusetts ACLU, Segal states that, under Massachusetts law, it is not illegal to encourage, or even persuade, someone to commit suicide.

Carter and Roy spoke for 47 minutes as he parked in the parking lot of a Kmart in Fairhaven.