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June 24 2017, 05:29 | Irvin Gilbert
Woman in texting suicide case waives right to jury trial
Prosecutors released transcripts of text messages the then-17-year-old Carter sent to Roy.
Carter's lawyers argue that she repeatedly tried to talk him out of it and more than a month before the death, she sent a text, "Let's get better and fight this together".
Carter's attorney, Joseph P. Cataldo, doesn't dispute that his client texted Roy - but he has said the messages were not criminal and certainly do not rise to the level of manslaughter. "Her behavior was wanton and reckless and because of her, Conrad is dead", Flynn said. Jury selection was expected to take at least a week, but now the trial will begin Tuesday. "So she has to make it happen - she has to make him kill himself so that she's not seen as a liar".
"It was his choice", Cataldo said of Roy. After he exited the truck, Carter told him to "get back in", Flynn said at the trial in juvenile court in Taunton, Massachusetts.
Legal experts said waiving the jury trial works to her benefit, because the judge may not be as swayed by emotion as a jury may be. Cataldo said that represents a "break" in Carter's behavior.
Several times Carter told Roy that he "just has to do it".
Other text messages from Carter to the women, all of whom were teenagers around the same age as Carter back in 2014, appeared to corroborate the prosecution's claim that Carter was on the phone with Roy as he sat in his pickup truck that was filling with the deadly gas. Their relationship prospered over text message and through phone calls.
"The defendant, by her wanton and reckless conduct, caused the death of Conrad Roy III", Assistant District Attorney Maryclare Flynn said during her opening statement in Taunton Juvenile Court.
Carter, now 20, argues that Roy put the idea of suicide into her head and convinced her to "endorse his plan".
"Livy, I have like no friends", one text said. "You already made this decision and if you don't do it tonight you're gonna be thinking abut it all the time and stuff all the rest of your life and be miserable", she wrote to him.
"Are you doing that of your own free will knowingly and voluntarily?" Ms Carter urged him to seek professional help and suffered from her own mental health frailties, he added. "This was a suicide, a sad and tragic suicide, but not a homicide". What prosecutors will have to prove this week is whether Carter's encouragement resulted in his death.
"Just do it babe", the defendant allegedly wrote in another.
"At the moment, there's really no law on the books in MA about whether somebody can encourage somebody to commit suicide or not", he said.
Though they lived about an hour apart - Roy in Fairhaven and Carter in Plainville, Massachusetts - they stayed in touch through calls, emails and texts, Roy's family and friends have said.
Under cross-examination she acknowledged there was tension between her son and his father, from whom she was divorced.
Michelle Carter was either an attention-seeking girlfriend who badgered her boyfriend to kill himself or a teen dealing with her own mental health issues who was "overwhelmed" by an older teen bent on killing himself despite her protests.