In an era where personality responsibility often takes a backseat, a Massachusetts judge has rightly found Michelle Carter guilty of manslaughter after she sent her boyfriend Conrad Roy III hundreds of text messages, urging him repeatedly to commit suicide. In 2014, Conrad sat inside his truck and breathed in the carbon monoxide that would kill him. When he had second thoughts and attempted to get out of his truck, Michelle told him to get back in and finish the job.
There have been numerous opinion pieces written about how this court case sets a dangerous precedent. But what it is really doing is letting individuals know that their actions have consequences. In this particular case, telling your boyfriend that he should kill himself, and even failing to stop him and get help when he is in the middle of the act, is something that could get you convicted of manslaughter.
What Michelle Carter did to her boyfriend Conrad Roy goes well beyond verbal and mental abuse. It really was an act of murder. And while she may not have pulled the trigger herself, she insinuated her way into her boyfriend’s life and psyche to such a dangerous degree that whenever he looked at his phone he would see texts from her egging him on, telling him he needed to just kill himself and get it over with, and that his family would get over his death with her help.
Michelle Carter’s reaction when the verdict of manslaughter was read brings to mind not one who is truly sorry for their actions, but one who is shocked that they will actually be punished for them. Or as Rhett Butler said to Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, “You’re like the thief who isn’t sorry he stole, but is terribly terribly sorry he’s going to jail.”
It is important to bear in mind that when Michelle Carter egged on her boyfriend Conrad Roy to kill himself, she didn’t just mention it once in passing in whimsical fashion. When he began searching for ways to kill himself, and wondered how best to make carbon monoxide, she suggested he Google the answer. And the next day, when he seemed less determined to kill himself and a little more healthy, Carter excitedly asked him if this was going to be the night he would commit suicide. If this was the case, she said, she was willing to stay awake for him, according to CNN.
“Because I’ll stay up with you if you wanna do it tonight.”
When Roy said he may give the idea a little more thought, Michelle Carter told him he needed to stop putting off the thought of suicide and just do it.
“You can’t keep pushing it off, tho, that’s all you keep doing.”
After this, Michelle Carter grew more intense and barraged Conrad Roy with text messages over the next nine days. “You’re gonna have to prove me wrong because I just don’t think you really want this. You just keep pushing it off to another night and say you’ll do it but you never do.” Carter continued, “But I bet you’re gonna be like ‘oh, it didn’t work because I didn’t tape the tube right or something like that’… I bet you’re gonna say an excuse like that.”
Michelle Carter texted her suicidal boyfriend: “All you have to do is turn on the generator and you will be free” pic.twitter.com/VS0xxbvMex
— Jack Posobiec???????? (@JackPosobiec) June 16, 2017
When Conrad Roy admitted to Michelle Carter that he was concerned about his family and how they would feel if he killed himself, she told him not to worry because they would, in her words, “get over it and move on.”
Conrad’s mother begs to differ with Michelle’s idea that she and his family would just “get over it” and believes that Carter lacks a moral compass or conscience, as the Boston Herald report.
“I don’t believe she has a conscience. The fact that she would say to him, ‘Your family will get over you.’ How is that even — I will never get over him.”
The ACLU in Massachusetts has called Conrad Roy’s death a tragedy, yet say that there is no law in the state that makes it a crime to try and persuade someone to kill themselves, as Mass Live report. Thankfully, Judge Lawrence Moniz disagrees with the ACLU, and agreed that trying to pressure someone to kill themselves could be considered manslaughter in the state of Massachusetts.
The judge also stated during his ruling that the manslaughter charge wasn’t based on the phone calls and texts between Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy in the weeks and days that led up to his death. Rather, it was based on the fact that Michelle was talking to Conrad as he sat inside his truck breathing in lethal carbon monoxide fumes, and she did nothing to help.
Michelle Carter’s friend, Samantha Boardman, gave her testimonial during the trial that Conrad Roy became “scared” during his suicide attempt in the truck and Michelle swore at him and told him to “get back in.” So in this way, Michelle really did kill her boyfriend and many are calling her a sociopath as she has shown no remorse for her crime, although she is upset that she may be going to prison.
Michelle Carter will be sentenced on August 3 and faces up to 20 years in prison for the death of Conrad Roy III.
[Featured Image by Glenn C. Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News/AP Images]