Defense seeks dismissal of manslaughter charge in suicide

By News Staff

Reporting by Rebecca Turco

The Plainville teen accused of encouraging her friend to kill himself appeared in a New Bedford courtroom Monday.

The prosecution is pointing to text messages telling the young man to go ahead with suicide, as the defense is arguing freedom of speech.

The hearing was emotional at times, as some of the victim’s family members quietly cried as the text messages sent to 18-year-old Conrad Roy were read aloud in court.

18-year-old Michelle Carter, of Plainville, stared strait ahead in court as the prosecution blamed her for encouraging Roy, her friend, to commit suicide.

"She is, through technology, taking part," said Prosecutor, Maryclare Flynn.

Prosecution pointed to text messaged and phone calls between the two leading up to Roy’s suicide.

"She goes back, ‘When are you gonna do it? Stop ignoring the question. Question mark, question mark, question mark. You can’t keep pushing it off,’" described Flynn, reading the text messaged from Carter.

Roy died of carbon monoxide poisoning last July after locking himself in his car at a parking lot in Fairhaven.

"The car was filling up and he was scared. She told him to get back in the car," said Flynn.

The defense pointed to texts from a week before, arguing that initially Carter encouraged Roy to seek help, but after countless back and fourth, she stopped.

"He has in fact brainwashed her to the point where she’s now accepting his idea of ‘this is my only option,’" explained Defense Attorney, Joseph Cataldo.

Now Carter’s attorneys want her involuntary manslaughter charges dropped, with Catlado saying, "You may find the content of her speech repugnant, but the first amendment protects that speech."

Meanwhile, Roy’s family is still coming to grips with it all, "It’s inconceivable. I just don’t understand how someone could do that. To encourage someone they claimed to love," said his great-aunt, Claudette Roy-Viaol.

The defense also asked the judge to treat Carter as a juvenile instead of a youthful offender. She was 17 when Roy died. The judge is taking this under advisement.

Carter is set to appear in court again in October.

© WLNE-TV 2015