Teen’s lawyer argues manslaughter charge should be dropped

Michelle Carter hearing_203844

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A lawyer for a teenage girl accused of encouraging a boy to end his life asked a judge Monday to dismiss the involuntary manslaughter charge against her.

Michelle Carter’s attorney says the 18-year-old is remorseful for Conrad Roy III’s suicide, but believes her texts to him before his death were legal, regardless if people view them as morally wrong.

Roy killed himself in a running vehicle outside a Fairhaven store in July of 2014. Prosecutors allege Carter pressured him to do so through a text conversation prior to his death.

Court documents obtained by Eyewitness News Friday revealed those text messages, which prosecutors consider to be proof that she caused Roy’s death.

Carter: “You can’t think about it. You just have to do it. You said you were gonna do it. Like I don’t get why you aren’t.”

Conrad: “I don’t get it either. I don’t know.”

Carter: “So I guess you aren’t gonna do it then. All that for nothing. I’m just confused. Like you were so ready and determined.”

Conrad: “I am gonna eventually. I really don’t know what I’m waiting for but I have everything lined up.”

Carter: “No, you’re not, Conrad. Last night was it. You kept pushing it off and you say you’ll do it, but you never do. It’s always gonna be that way if you don’t take action. You’re just making it harder on yourself by pushing it off. You just have to do it.”

“Him taking his own life after she has repeatedly told him to do it and instructions on how to do it – where he can do it, when he can do it, and that he should get back in the car – that’s not an intervening cause. That’s the exact outcome desired,” the prosecutor said Monday.

Defense attorney Joseph Cataldo argued that the manslaughter charge should be dropped because Carter was exercising her right to free speech.

“He decided to kill himself and he had a whole plan, he went about this plan – left suicide notes for people, left his house – it was his decision and his alone,” Cataldo said. “There’s no law against suicide, so it’s protected speech.”

More than a year after Roy’s death, his great aunt still can’t figure out why Carter would do what prosecutors allege she did.

“It’s inconceivable. I just don’t understand why someone would encourage someone they say they love,” Claudette Roy-Viall said outside court.

The judge will now consider the motion to dismiss the charge against Carter.

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