The Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy III case has sparked a heated debate over whether a teen girl can be held responsible for the suicide of a young man. The case of Conrad Roy III’s suicide death and Michelle Carter’s involvement went before a grand jury, and the girl has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Carter, was indicted as a “youthful offender” by a Bristol County grand jury because she was 17 when she allegedly prompted Conrad Roy III to commit suicide.
As reported by the The Sun Chronicle on Feb. 27, Michelle Carter is free on $2,500 bail but has restricted access to the Internet. “She must stay off social media and is not allowed to send text messages, other than to her parents.” Carter’s pretrial hearing in the New Bedford Juvenile Court is scheduled for April 17.
Michelle Carter’s defense attorney, Joseph P. Cataldo of Franklin, is arguing that his client did not commit a crime and that he expects that the involuntary manslaughter charge will be dismissed. Cataldo told reporters that the district attorney’s office was trying to blame Conrad Roy’s teen suicide on someone – but that his client did not commit a crime.
“I can’t understand why they brought the charge,” Cataldo said. “They’re trying to claim there is manslaughter, when they freely admit the boy took his own life. You can’t have it both ways.”
According to the district attorney and police records, however, Michelle Carter had everything to do with a young man taking his own life:
“Michelle not only encouraged Conrad to take his own life, she questioned him repeatedly as to when and why he hadn’t done it yet, right up to the point of when his final text was sent to her on Saturday evening, July 12, 2014,” wrote police after reviewing text messages sent from Michelle to Conrad.
Fairhaven police Detective Scott Gordon said in a police report: “Not only did Conrad tell Carter in several of his texts prior to his death that he was scared and didn’t want to leave his family, she continued to encourage him to take his own life, and when he actually started to carry out the act, he got scared again and exited his truck, but instead of telling him to stay out of the truck … Carter told him to ‘get back in’.”
Conrad Roy III of Fairhaven and Mattapoisett was found dead last July in his truck in the parking lot of a Fairhaven Kmart. Authorities said he died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
After going through the 18-year-old young man’s cell phone, police discovered allegedly several text messages from Michelle to Conrad urging him to commit suicide. According to court documents, in text messages sent by Michelle after Conrad’s death “she told friends she heard him killing himself over the phone.”
Michelle Carter’s actions after Conrad’s death are raising many questions. Besides sharing with her friends that she heard Conrad kill himself, she organized a fundraiser in his name which earned her $2,500 — and a lot of narcissistic attention?
On Facebook, she told her friends how much she loved and missed Conrad, and on Sept. 10, 2014, she wrote on Twitter: “National Suicide Awareness day, I wish more people understood. I love you and miss you everyday Conrad. Help others #WeCanEndSuicide.” She retweeted the link to a suicide prevention hotline on Sept. 21, 2014.”
At the time of Conrad’s death, 17-year-old Michelle was an honor roll student at King Philip Regional High School. King Philip High School officials are declining to comment on their former honor student’s indictment, and Superintendent Elizabeth Zielinski stated that “as an educational institution we are bound by regulations related to the privacy of student records. As such I will not comment on the situation, or discuss anything that is related to any student’s record.”
Conrad Roy III had graduated from Old Rochester Regional High School and was planning to attend Fitchburg State University. “All I can think of is his smiling face,” says Conrad’s grandmother, Janice Roy. “He used to come play with his cousins on the beach.” The case is reopening old wounds for the family members who are trying to deal with the death of a loved one.
The Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy III case does not only have authorities divided on the exact responsibility of the girl in the young man’s teen suicide death, but it also has the public divided. While some are arguing that no one can be forced to commit suicide, others point out that being an 18-year-old young man brings along much vulnerability – especially to an attractive young girl.