Teen Urged Boyfriend's Suicide, Say Prosecutors: Can Speech Convince Someone To End Their Life?

Christina St Jean

Massachussetts teen Michelle Carter, 18, has been indicted on involuntary manslaughter charges in the suicide of her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, last year, but her defense team says that the texts are protected under free speech and are "words." However, the teen who allegedly urged her boyfriend to complete suicide is fighting to avoid a 20-year jail term.

Joseph Cataldo, the defense attorney in the case, says prosecuting this teen, who is alleged to have urged her boyfriend to commit suicide, is "dangerous."

The hashtag #JusticeforConrad is being used by those who are appalled by the case of this teen, who is alleged to have urged her boyfriend to complete suicide. Resoundingly, it appears that the court of public opinion is not on Carter's side.

According to CNN, Text messages between July 6 and July 12, 2014, allegedly exchanged by Carter and Roy, are alleged to show that, "Carter assisted Conrad's suicide by counseling him to overcome his doubts, devising a plan to run a combustion engine within his truck... and by directing him to go back in his truck after he exited it, when he became frightened and said the plan was working," according to a court document.

Carter's parents say that their daughter is not a teen who urged her friend to complete suicide, but someone who tried helping her friend. They believe that their daughter will be found innocent of the charge, according to turnto10.com.

Roy's family has read every text exchanged between Roy and Carter, WTVR reports, and there are reports allege that Roy attempted to get Carter to engage in a suicide pact of sorts. The Boston Globe reports that Carter urged Roy to come to McLean Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Belmont, Massachusetts, to receive treatment for the suicidal thoughts he was having, according to Cataldo, who declined to reveal what Carter was being treated for.

While suicide is a definite concern among many segments of the population, youth suicide rates are of great concern, particularly between the ages of 10 and 24. In 2014, 4,600 youth took their own lives, with 40 percent of them choosing to complete suicide through suffocation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that for the same age group, 81 percent of that population was male.

The Mayo Clinic also says that when it comes to suicide, "It may seem like there's no way to solve... problems and that suicide is the only way to end the pain," and adds that "Suicidal thinking doesn't get better on its own — so get help."

On October 2, Judge Bettina Borders might opt to drop the case altogether. Regardless, it would appear that Michelle Carter has garnered the reputation now as the teen who allegedly urged her friend to complete suicide.

[Photo courtesy of Southcoast Today]