In the weeks leading up to his suicide in the K-Mart parking lot in Fairhaven, Conrad Roy exchanged countless texts with his then 17-year-old girlfriend Michelle Carter, who prosecutors say encouraged him to end his life.
Carter is accused of involuntary manslaughter after Roy, 18, had siphoned carbon monoxide into his truck—a method recommended by Carter in text messages—in July 2014. Defense attorney Joseph Cataldo argued in New Bedford Juvenile Court last week that his client was “brainwashed” by Roy into helping him commit suicide, and that her text messages violate no law in Massachusetts.
The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office released text messages between Roy and Carter, whose relationship was kept so discreet, Roy’s best friend was completely unaware of it. In one string of messages, Carter says that Conrad’s death wouldn’t place an emotional burden on his family, telling him, “It’s now or never.”
CARTER: I think your parents know you’re in a really bad place. I’m not saying they want you to do it but I honestly feel like they can accept it. They know there is nothing they can do. They’ve tried helping. Everyone’s tried, but there is a point that comes where there isn’t anything anyone can do to save you, not even yourself. And you’ve hit that point and I think your parents know you’ve hit that point. You said your mom saw a suicide thing on your computer and she didn’t say anything. I think she knows it’s on your mind and she’s prepared for it. Everyone will be sad for a while but they will get over it and move on. They won’t be in depression. I won’t let that happen. They know how sad you are, and they know that you are doing this to be happy and I think they will understand and accept it. They will always carry you in their hearts.
CONRAD: Aww. Thank you, Michelle.
CARTER: They will move on for you because they know that’s what you would have wanted. They know you wouldn’t want them to be sad and depressed and be angry and guilty. They know you want them to live their lives and be happy. So they will for you. You’re right. You need to stop thinking about this and just do it because over turning always kills, over thinking.
CONRAD: Yeah, it does. I’ve been thinking about it for too long.
CARTER: Always smile, and, yeah, you have to just do it. You have everything you need. There is no way you can fail. Tonight is the night. It’s now or never.
One day, when Roy went to Sears to purchase a generator with a combustion engine, he spotted a man dressed in a Jesus costume and texted Carter about it. “Ha, ha, ha. It’s a sign it’s your calling,” she said. On several occasions, Carter expressed frustration with Roy’s reluctance.
CARTER: Well … I guess [that I am frustrated], just because you always say you are gonna do it but you don’t, but last night I know you really wanted to do it and I’m not mad. Well, I mean kind of, I guess, just because you always say you’re gonna do it … but you don’t but last night I knew you really wanted to and I’m not mad.
CARTER: You’re not joking about this or bullshitting me, right? … I just want to make sure you’re being serious. Like I know you are, but I don’t know. You always say you’re gonna do it, but you never do. I just want to make sure tonight is the real thing.
Days before his death, Roy suggested siphoning carbon monoxide from his truck’s exhaust pipes into the cabin of his truck. Carter provided step-by-step instructions.
CARTER: Yeah, it will work. If you emit 3200 ppm of it for five or ten minutes you will die within a half hour. You lose consciousness with no pain. You just fall asleep and die. You can also just take a hose and run that from the exhaust pipe to the rear window in your car and seal it with duct tape and shirts, so it can’t escape. You will die within, like, 20 or 30 minutes all pain free.
After Roy’s death, Carter allegedly texted one of his sisters, “Do you know where your brother is?” In September, Carter appeared to show some remorse in texts to her friend, Samantha.
CARTER: Sam, his death is my fault. Like, honestly I could have stopped it. I was the one on the phone with him and he got out of the car because he was working and he got scared and I fucken [sic] told him to get back in, Sam, because I knew he would do it all over again the next day and I couldn’t have him live that way the way he was living anymore. I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t let him. And therapy didn’t help him and I wanted him to go to McLeans with me when I went but he would go in the other department for his issues but he didn’t want to go because he said nothing they would do or say would help him or change the way he feels.
So I, like, started giving up because nothing I did was helping and but I should have tried harder. Like, I should have did more. And it’s all my fault because I could have stopped him but I fucken [sic] didn’t and all I had to say was I love you and don’t do this one more time and he’d still be here. And he told me he would give me signs to know he was watching over me but I haven’t seen any. And I just I don’t know. I’m sorry about this rant. I just need to get it off my chest that it’s finally all starting to sink in?
Carter is scheduled to appear in court again on October 2. You can read the texts between Carter and Roy below.
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