She Prodded Her Boyfriend to Kill Himself. He Did.
Michelle Carter's involuntary manslaughter trial began Tuesday
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2017 12:28 PM CDT
Attorney Joseph Cataldo talks to his client, Michelle Carter, at the beginning of the court session in Taunton, Mass.   (Faith Ninivaggi)

(Newser) – Conrad Roy III's method of death has long been established: The 18-year-old killed himself via carbon monoxide poisoning in 2014. What will be determined in a Taunton, Mass., courtroom is whether his death was the result of his girlfriend's prodding. The AP reports Michelle Carter's involuntary manslaughter trial began Tuesday, a day after she waived her right to a jury trial, putting her fate instead in the hands of a judge. WCVB notes the transcripts of the texts that will serve as the "focal point" of the trial were released in court documents. The Washington Post reports the two sent each other hundreds in the days before Roy's death, and WCVB shares some of the potentially more damning ones. Among them:

  • To Roy: "You already made this decision and if you don't do it tonight you're gonna be thinking about it all the time and stuff all the rest of your life and be miserable. You're finally going to be happy in heaven."
  • To a friend: "[Roy's] death was 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 (expletive) told him to get back in ... If they read my messages I'm done. His family will hate me and I could go to jail."
A Northeastern University law professor calls the case "different" in comments to the Post. "Usually, manslaughter charges involve direct action by the defendant … some type of horrific unintentional killing where the behavior disregarded a risk, like firing a gun into a crowd." In his opening statement, Carter's lead attorney, Joseph Cataldo, argued that she didn't inflict harm from 30 miles away. "Even if she were reckless, the evidence will show that she didn't cause his death. It was caused by carbon monoxide poisoning," he said per tweets from Boston Herald reporter Bob McGovern. The prosecution has painted Carter, now 20, as an attention-seeker who wanted to be the "grieving girlfriend." (This case recalls an 1816 trial in the state.)

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