A Massachusetts judge on Friday is set to render a verdict on whether a teenager’s text messages to her boyfriend urging his 2014 suicide amounted to manslaughter, a court official said.
Michelle Carter, now 20, is accused of involuntary manslaughter for sending a series of texts to her 18-year-old boyfriend, Conrad Roy, urging him to kill himself, which he did by running a generator in his truck as he sat in a parking lot in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, about 60 miles (96 km) south of Boston.
The couple were 30 miles (48 km) apart at the time of Roy’s death, a fact that defense attorneys emphasized during the week-long trial. The trial is the first time prosecutors in the state have sought such a stiff charge in a case based only on text messages.
Carter opted against a jury trial, leaving her fate in the hands of Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz, who began considering his verdict on Tuesday.
During the trial, the judge heard extensive readings of text-message exchanges between Carter and Roy, both of whom struggled with emotional problems. Dozens of times, the messages urged Roy to kill himself, with one reading: “No more pushing it off. No more waiting,” according to prosecutors.
Bristol County prosecutor Maryclare Flynn portrayed Carter as a manipulative person who enjoyed her control over the teen and hoped to win sympathy for herself among her high school friends as a result of Roy’s death.
Defense attorney Joseph Cataldo portrayed Carter as equally emotionally vulnerable and not in full control of her actions because of prescription psychiatric medication that left her with the delusion that she could help Roy by urging his death.
They noted that Roy attempted suicide multiple times before succeeding in July 2014.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Peter Cooney)