The suicide text case has finally had its day in court, and many believe justice has been served. Massachusetts Judge Lawrence Moniz found Carter guilty after a week long bench trial. The defense made extreme efforts by her legal team to find every possible technicality to avoid the guilty verdict.
Carter, who was a minor at the time of the crime,was charged as a youthful offender. It was after Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court justice Robert Cordy (who has since retired) ruled that her texting with Roy carried “more weight than mere words, overcoming any independent will to live he might have had”. Carter was also hoping to avoid trial since Massachusetts, unlike 40 other states in the US, has no law against assisting someone to commit suicide. The prosecution cited two cases from the 1960’s where people were convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the suicide of others.
“Playing a Sick Game”
In her closing argument, Bristol County District Attorney Katie Rayburn said “the risk Carter created was reckless and amounts to involuntary manslaughter”… “In the age of people falling in love via the Internet and via text, you can encourage someone to die via text, and you can commit a crime via text.” Prosecutor MaryClare Flynn said Carter played a “sick game of life and death for attention” encouraging Roy to go ahead and take his own life.
During the trial, the prosecution brought forward forensic experts who analyzed both the teens’ phones and testified that Roy had searched for painless suicidal methods. The teen had also searched “Suicide by Cop”. The text messages between the teens reveal that a week before Roy’s suicide, Carter texted Roy with instructions. Including “take 10 benedryls and then wait 10 mins then take all the Tylenol,” and that he should “hang yourself, jump off a building, stab yourself.” Additionally, the experts testified that Roy had sent Carter a photo of the generator he later used to smother himself with.
“Carter Was Involuntarily Intoxicated”
Carter’s defense lawyer, Joseph P. Cataldo, claimed the deceased was “somebody who wanted to eventually take his own life”. Cataldo repeated the defense’s mantra that Roy died of suicide and not murder. Additionally, Cataldo continued arguing that the prosecution was bending the law charging Carter with involuntary manslaughter without proper legal grounds.
Defense psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin, testified that Carter was “involuntarily intoxicated” due to her prescription medications. Breggin testified that Carter was diagnosed with depression and took Prozac before being given Celexa at too high a dose. The defense added that Carter started taking Celexa in April 2014 for “impulse control issues”. She also went into an inpatient program at McLean Hospital.
When Judge Moniz ruled that Carter’s conduct had caused Roy’s death his family began to cry. Moniz didn’t revoke bail but warned Carter not to contact Roy’s family in any medium “”No texting, no Facebook, no Snapchat.”
Michelle Carter’s sentencing was scheduled for August 3rd.