18-year-old Michelle Carter is being charged with manslaughter in her friend’s originally thought suicide in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Conrad Roy III committed suicide on July 13th last summer in a Kmart parking lot. He died in his pickup truck due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carter is being accused of having knowledge of Roy’s suicidal thoughts. More than a thousand texts were exchanged between the two leading up to the day of his unfortunate death. The issue, however, is not that Carter was a close friend or significant other whom Roy confided in, rather it’s the message that she supposedly sent encouraging a hesitant Roy to get back into his truck and suffocate himself.
The Bristol District Attorney’s office brought to light the fact that according to his family, Roy had struggled with depression, leaving him more vulnerable for influence. Michelle Carter knew of his emotional turmoil as well as his suicidal thoughts and failed to notify his family or other adult figures that may have been able to help.
However, some are taking a less accusatory approach to the situation by saying that Carter was not present at the scene when Roy died, and therefore she was not an assistant to his death. The protection of her phone screen may have made the situation seem less realistic to her, which is the issue in many cyber-bullying cases.
Carter was only 17 at the time of Roy’s death, so she was originally tried in a juvenile court and is currently out on bail, however she will be tried as an adult at her next court appearance. If Carter is found guilty of manslaughter, she could spend up to 20 years in prison.
If you or someone you know is dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.