Teen Accused Of Bullying Her Boyfriend Into Committing Suicide Will Stand Trial

After allegedly sending her boyfriend a slew of text messages urging him to commit suicide two years ago, Michelle Carter of Massachusetts will now stand trial for manslaughter. She was 17 at the time of the 2014 tragedy, and was just indicted Feb. 6 for involuntary manslaughter. If convicted, the state’s highest court says she could face 20 years in prison. Carter is due back in juvenile court July 21 for a pretrial hearing to uphold the grand jury’s indictment over her involuntary manslaughter charge, but she’s expected to enter a plea deal, according to ABC News.

Her boyfriend at the time, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, locked himself in his truck with the engine turned on in a Kmart parking lot with the intention to end is own life. During that time, he was on the phone with Carter for 47 minutes, according to prosecutors, as she urged him to go through with his plan. A series of horrifying text messages from her phone included, but were not limited to, “You need to stop thinking about this and just do it,” “There is no way you can fail. Tonight is the night. It’s now or never,” and “When are you going to do it? Stop ignoring the question.” Roy ultimately died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carter’s attorney, Joseph Cataldo, fought to drop the charges twice, but the Supreme Judicial Court ruled last week that a grand jury had probable cause to indict the teen, who’s now 19.

Her attorney claims the First Amendment protects the contents of her text messages as a form of free speech. While it might be a tragedy, he acknowledges, it’s certainly not a crime. OK, but as of December 2012, it has been illegal nationwide for a non-medical professional to assist someone in their plight to commit suicide, whether their role was administering harmful substances or tools, or persuading them to do it. If Carter bullied Roy into following through, it would fulfill this criteria.

The couple met while on vacation with their respective families in Florida two years before Roy’s death. Even though they lived 80 miles apart from one another, they hadn’t seen each other in over a year. Their relationship was reduced to email and texting.

Roy suffered from a history of suicidal ideation, having attempted to take his own life previously in 2013. Though described as an ambitious teenager, he was on antidepressants and canceled his plans of going away to college. Cataldo told ABC News, “Michelle Carter did not cause Conrad Roy’s death. It was his long time plan and his actions that brought about his own death, and I am confident the jury will conclude that she is not guilty.”