Crime Death by Text: The case against Michelle Carter

17:50  18 june  2017
17:50  18 june  2017 Source:   CBS News

Teen in texting-suicide case researched suicide methods

  Teen in texting-suicide case researched suicide methods The Massachusetts teenager prosecutors say was coaxed by text messages from his girlfriend into killing himself had researched suicide online, a defense witness testified Friday.Steven Verronneau, a forensic investigator with MWV Multi-Media Forensics, said he had analyzed the computers and phones owned by Conrad Roy III as well as Michelle Carter, who's charged in Roy's July 2014 death.Carter, now 20, was 17 when the 18-year-old Roy died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his pickup truck in a store parking lot in Fairhaven. She is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The alleged weapon in this case : Michelle Carter 's own words. Bob McGovern: What she did in theory according to the prosecutors she recklessly caused Conrad Roy's death . Michelle Carter text suicide trial verdict. Judge Lawrence Moniz: Miss Carter , please stand. …

Shadow of Death : The murders of Andra and Brad Sachs. Death by Text : The case against Michelle Carter . The verdict in a groundbreaking case and a mother speaks out about the friend charged with leading her son to suicide through text messages.

What to watch next
  • Commander: Ship endured 'significant impact'

    Commander: Ship endured 'significant impact'

    CNN Logo
    CNN
    1:45
  • Enormous blaze spreads in Portugal

    Enormous blaze spreads in Portugal

    CNN Logo
    CNN
    1:09
  • How Trump's father put him on the path to the presidency

    How Trump's father put him on the path to the presidency

    FOX News Logo
    FOX News
    3:18
  • Hospital: Rep. Steve Scalise now in serious condition

    Hospital: Rep. Steve Scalise now in serious condition

    FOX News Logo
    FOX News
    2:36
  • Pro-Trump activists thrown out of play

    Pro-Trump activists thrown out of play

    CNN Logo
    CNN
    1:30
  • Judge declares mistrial in Bill Cosby case

    Judge declares mistrial in Bill Cosby case

    CBS News Logo
    CBS News
    3:10
  • Protesters gather after police officer acquitted in death of Philando Castile

    Protesters gather after cop acquitted in Castile death

    CBS News Logo
    CBS News
    1:25
  • 7 sailors missing after U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant ship

    7 sailors missing after U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant ship

    The Washington Post Logo
    The Washington Post
    1:31
  • Rescue Crews Work Through The Night After Ferry Hits Jetty In Hyannis

    Rescue Crews Work Through The Night After Ferry Hits Jetty In Hyannis

    1:45
  • Legal Analysis: Mistrial Declared in Cosby Case

    Legal Analysis: Mistrial Declared in Cosby Case

    Associated Press Logo
    Associated Press
    1:48
  • Trump departs for first stay at Camp David

    Trump departs for first stay at Camp David

    Reuters Logo
    Reuters
    0:58
  • London police believe 58 dead in tower block fire

    London police believe 58 dead in tower block fire

    AFP Logo
    AFP
    0:29
  • Minute's silence for London fire victims at Trooping the Colour in London

    Minute's silence for London fire victims at Trooping the Colour in London

    Reuters Logo
    Reuters
    1:03
  • Cuba slams US travel, business restrictions

    Cuba slams US travel, business restrictions

    CNN Logo
    CNN
    2:58
  • The times Trump put Pence in an awkward spot

    The times Trump put Pence in an awkward spot

    CNN Logo
    CNN
    3:08
  • Report: Trump wedding planner appointed to HUD

    Report: Trump wedding planner appointed to HUD

    CNN Logo
    CNN
    1:10
UP NEXT
UP NEXT

Video by Reuters

Judge faces legal quagmire in teen texting suicide trial

  Judge faces legal quagmire in teen texting suicide trial Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy III are both sad figures in a teenage tragedy that ended with Roy killing himself and Carter charged with manslaughter. A juvenile court judge now finds himself at the center of a legal quagmire: Should he set a legal precedent in Massachusetts by convicting Carter of manslaughter for encouraging Roy to take his own life through dozens of text messages? Or should he acquit her and risk sending a message that Carter's behavior was less than criminal?Judge Lawrence Moniz is deliberating Carter's fate following a jury-waived trial that provided a disturbing look at teen depression and sui

WATCH: Death by Text : The case against Michelle Carter . Detective Gordon testified that when he unlocked it, there was only one thread of text conversation on the phone. It was with Michelle Carter .

In her first TV interview, Lynn Roy opens up about the death of her son, Conrad Roy III, and the case against Michelle Carter , who prosecutors say caused Roy to kill himself in text messages, in " Death by Text ," a special "48 Hours" airing Friday, June 16 at 8/7c on CBS.

A Massachusetts judge announced his verdict Friday in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michelle Carter for the death of her 18-year-old friend, Conrad Roy. After Roy took his own life in July 2014, investigators found thousands of texts from Carter on his phone, many of them encouraging him to kill himself.

Carter and Roy met in 2012. Though they lived an hour apart in Massachusetts, they communicated almost exclusively via texts, online and by phone. The case, which was being followed nationwide, hinges on the power of words – Michelle Carter's words – and whether they could be deadly.

At the heart of the case is the question of whether Michelle Carter's texts and messages pushed Conrad Roy to take his life, or if he would have done it anyway?

Verdict in texting suicide trial to be announced Friday

  Verdict in texting suicide trial to be announced Friday Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy III are both sad figures in a teenage tragedy that ended with Roy killing himself and Carter charged with manslaughter. A juvenile court judge now finds himself at the center of a legal quagmire: Should he set a legal precedent in Massachusetts by convicting Carter of manslaughter for encouraging Roy to take his own life through dozens of text messages? Or should he acquit her and risk sending a message that Carter's behavior was less than criminal?Judge Lawrence Moniz began deliberating Carter's fate Tuesday in the jury-waived trial.

A judge has refused a bid to dismiss the case against a woman accused of driving her boyfriend to suicide. Defence lawyers said Michelle Carter ’s actions were “reckless”, but did not In one text to a friend, Ms Carter wrote: “Sam, [the victim’s] death is my fault like honestly I could have stopped him

In her first television interview, Lynn Roy opens up about the death of her son, Conrad Roy III, and the groundbreaking case against Michelle Carter , who prosecutors say caused Roy to kill himself in text messages, in “ Death by Text ,” to be broadcast Friday at 8 p.m. on CBS 6.

On June 13, 2014, Conrad Roy recorded a video of himself on his computer. In the video, he discussed his battle with depression, suicidal thoughts, and social anxiety.  At one point, he said, "I need to be comfortable in my skin.  And in order to be comfortable in my skin, I have to just be happy and live with myself for who I am: Conrad Roy III."

One month before 18-year-old Conrad Roy took his own life, when the minds of many teens wander to carefree summer days, Conrad's thoughts were more serious and introspective:

Conrad Roy [on video talking to computer]: It's not realistic what's going on in my head that keeps on piling and piling and piling.

Michelle Carter Verdict Could Have Major Implications

  Michelle Carter Verdict Could Have Major Implications Legal experts have expressed concern about the future implications of Friday's involuntary manslaughter guilty verdict for Michelle Carter.Michelle Carter was found guilty Friday of involuntary manslaughter after sending dozens of text messages urging her boyfriend to kill himself in a verdict that legal experts say could have wide-ranging implications for free speech and assisted suicide. Carter, 20, could face up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced August 3.

In her first television interview, Lynn Roy opens up about the death of her son, Conrad Roy III, and the groundbreaking case against Michelle Carter , who prosecutors say caused Roy to kill himself in text messages, in “ Death by Text ,” to be broadcast Friday at 8 p.m. on CBS 6.

Massachusetts does not have a law against assisted suicide. "Causation is going to be a vital part of this case ," said Daniel Medwed, a Northeastern University law professor. Prosecutors point to a text Carter sent to a friend after Roy's death .

Conrad Roy [on video talking to computer]: I need to be comfortable in my skin.

Sitting at his computer in his home in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Conrad recorded his thoughts on coping with his depression.

Conrad Roy [on video talking to computer]: I need to relax. I really do.

Lynn Roy: He wanted to excel. He was -- just wanted to … be this, like, great person. But in my eyes, he was all that.

In her only television interview, Conrad's mother, Lynn Roy, explains that her son could be his own toughest critic.

Lynn Roy:  He was rough on himself.  …he really, really struggled with -- just disappointing I think myself and his dad.

Conrad Roy [on video talking to computer]: The sooner I like myself, the better I'll be

Lynn Roy thought her son was feeling better; he was getting professional help and was on an antidepressant, Celexa. He'd been licensed to be tug boat captain, like his dad, and had just graduated high school. College, with a scholarship, was on the horizon.

Lynn Roy: He was doing everything that was positive, that was, you know, lookin' towards his future.

But, on July 12, 2014, Conrad drove to a parking lot, and using a gasoline-powered water pump, sat in his pickup truck as it filled with carbon monoxide, knowingly inhaling the deadly fumes, killing himself. All the while, his friend, Michelle Carter, then 17, was encouraging Conrad, from more than 30 miles away on her phone, to take his own life.

What’s Next For Michelle Carter After Involuntary Manslaughter Conviction?

  What’s Next For Michelle Carter After Involuntary Manslaughter Conviction? Michelle Carter, the Massachusetts woman convicted today of involuntary manslaughter for telling her boyfriend to continue on with a suicide attempt when they were both teen high school students, will be sentenced August 3rd. She faces one of several possible paths. Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter, a common-law crime, as a youthful offender.  Youthful offender status provides judges with three possible sentencing options.First, it’s possible Carter could be committed to prison for the full possible adult sentence.

Few criminal trials in Massachusetts have provoked as much outrage as the case against Michelle Carter , the young woman who is charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly pressuring her boyfriend via text message to kill himself in 2014. The negative publicity was intense after the death

Michelle Carter 's defense lawyers argued that Roy had a history of suicide attempts and the decision to end his life was his own[9], that Carter was "bewildered" over the case against her, and that, "Taking all the texts in context, she tried to talk him out of it ."

Lynn Roy: I don't understand why would you want someone that was so beautiful inside and out, that had so much -- that was such a kind person to die.

Erin Moriarty: How do you describe what this young woman did?

Lynn Roy:  I cannot. Only -- only she -- she can.

The intersection of the lives of Conrad Roy and Michelle Carter has left a trail of heartbreak and questions about the circumstances that led to such a tragic death.

Lynn Roy: He's one of the kindest persons. …he grew up very sensitive. …Very humble and kind.

Erin Moriarty: Happy child?

Lynn Roy: Very happy. Many pictures of him smiling, laughing. …until he -- became a teenager and I don't know if it was the hormones … He just, you know, became anxious.

Conrad was the oldest child in the family, with two sisters, Morgan and Camdyn.  Lynn and Conrad's father separated when Conrad was 16 – and their divorce hit him especially hard.

Lynn Roy:  Think he was just more worried about me. That's what boys do. They worry about their moms -- a lot.

Conrad would confide in his friend Aryanna Taylor as they spent hours walking along the water.

Aryanna Taylor: The lighthouse is beautiful and you have a clear view of, like, the ocean around you. And we would just go there and hang out.

The setting was beautiful, but sometimes, the talk turned dark.

Aryanna Taylor: He didn't really -- wasn't able to explain it to me in a way that I could understand. So he kind of just described it as like a "darkness" … And how there would be -- times where he just kind of wanted to isolate himself from everybody.

Can words kill? Michelle Carter on trial for urging her 18-year-old boyfriend to kill himself

  Can words kill? Michelle Carter on trial for urging her 18-year-old boyfriend to kill himself Do words kill? That is the gist of the decision facing Massachusetts Judge Lawrence Moniz in a landmark manslaughter case against a young woman who urged her 18-year-old boyfriend to commit suicide. That is the gist of the decision facing Massachusetts Judge Lawrence Moniz in a landmark manslaughter case against a young woman who urged her 18-year-old boyfriend to commit suicide.

On Tuesday, a judge in Bristol County Juvenile Court in Massachusetts began weighing the evidence in the case against Michelle Carter , who was 17 when Conrad Roy III died in his truck by inhaling carbon monoxide from a portable generator.

Prosecutors say text messages between Carter and Roy show Carter was an accessory to his death . CLICK HERE to read the indictment against Michelle Carter , which includes the text messages sent by Carter and Roy in this case .

Conrad's anxiety and self doubt had troubled Lynn since he was 16.

Lynn Roy:  He's -- he started havin' trouble sleeping -- and we got him treated at hospitals. And then he had his first -- suicide-- attempt a year after. The age of 17.

Conrad had overdosed on acetaminophen.

Lynn Roy: I worked in a psychiatric hospital and I never at -- at that time never imagined that one of my children would have those feelings.

Erin Moriarty: And do you think he really intended to kill himself at that point?=

Lynn Roy: He did contact a friend, so.

That friend was Aryanna.

Aryanna Taylor: He told me that he was really sick and that his mom had just left and that he wanted her to come back.

Aryanna immediately got in touch with Conrad's parents, who brought him to the hospital.

Lynn Roy: He told me, "Mom, I will never do that again." He was sorry. And I was sorry as well that he felt that way.

Erin Moriarty to Aryanna: The fact that he wanted you to call his mother -- what does that say to you?

Aryanna Taylor: It just says that he was calling out for help, that he didn't actually mean what he was doing, but he really needed help and that this was the only way he kind of thought that he would really get help.

And that help seemed to be working.

Aryanna Taylor: He actually was getting a lot better. …He told me about how he was going out and he was going to, like, you know, the high school parties and just hanging out with everybody. I was, like, "that's amazing."

Michelle Carter was another friend of Conrad's. They met in 2012, while both were vacationing in Florida. Conrad and his sisters were visiting relatives, who happened to know Michelle.

Texting suicide verdict could set bad precedent, legal experts say

  Texting suicide verdict could set bad precedent, legal experts say <p>The day after a juvenile court judge in Massachusetts convicted Michelle Carter of killing boyfriend Conrad Roy III with her words, some legal and cyber issues experts cautioned that the punishment may not fit the crime.</p>SAN FRANCISCO — The day after a juvenile court judge in Massachusetts convicted Michelle Carter of killing boyfriend Conrad Roy III with her words, some legal and cyber issues experts cautioned that the punishment may not fit the crime.

Michelle Carter was charged in the death of Conrad Roy III. Carter , then 17, cajoled Roy to kill himself in July 2014 with a series of texts and phone calls, prosecutors alleged. Carter waived her right to a jury trial, so Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz decided the case .

MORE: All the texts between Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy the day he died. Judge Moniz must decide whether Carter should be held responsible for Roy's death . The case could have implications in future cases involving suicide or cyberbullying.

Erin Moriarty:  How would you describe Michelle? Friendly?

Camdyn Roy: Yeah. She was, like, really friendly. And she always, like, laughed, I remember. Like, she always made Conrad laugh.

As it turned out, Michelle lived just a few towns over from the Roy's in Massachusetts, and the relationship continued after the vacation. But, while Michelle called Conrad her boyfriend, his family says the two rarely saw each other, and, like so many teens, their interactions were mostly over text messages.

Erin Moriarty: Had your son ever mentioned Michelle Carter?

Lynn Roy: Yes … After they met in Florida. …I met her in 2013 at his baseball game … and that was the only time I ever met her. Second time was at his wake.

Erin Moriarty: Did she even make an impression on you initially?

Lynn Roy: No. I didn't think anything.

Michelle and Conrad shared something in common that Lynn did not know. Michelle had her own struggles, including an eating disorder, and both teens, at times, took antidepressants.

Ed McFarland: You know, probably the attraction was they both had their issues.

Softball coach Ed McFarland has known Michelle Carter and her family for a decade. The Michelle he knows is an ideal teammate.

Ed McFarland:  I've never seen her do a mean thing. I've never seen her be mean.

Erin Moriarty: Other kids like her?

Ed McFarland: Yeah. Yeah. …never heard a cross word or … anything of that nature.

And Michelle's high school yearbook paints a picture of an active, well-liked student—one voted "class clown" and "most likely to brighten your day." But that would not be how her actions would be described on the last day of Conrad's life.

That day started out seemingly happy for Conrad, spending time with his family.

Erin Moriarty: That morning on the 12th, what was his mood like?

Lynn Roy:  It was fine. He wanted -- you know, go to the beach with the girls.

While there, Camdyn, at one point, noticed her brother sitting alone, texting.

Teen who sent texts urging suicide thought she was 'grand, helping person'

  Teen who sent texts urging suicide thought she was 'grand, helping person' The defense for a Massachusetts woman charged with using text messages to encourage her boyfriend to kill himself when they were teenagers rested its case Tuesday.&nbsp;Michelle Carter is charged with manslaughter in the 2014 suicide of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III.

A judge has refused a bid to dismiss the case against a woman accused of driving her boyfriend to suicide. Defence lawyers said Michelle Carter 's In one text to a friend, Ms Carter wrote: "Sam, [the victim's] death is my fault like honestly I could have stopped him I was on the phone with him and he

Erin Moriarty:  And did you know who he was texting with?

Camdyn Roy: No.

Erin Moriarty: Now, you think he was texting with Michelle Carter?

Camdyn Roy:  Yeah.

Erin Moriarty: But you didn't know that at the time. And what was his demeanor?

Camdyn Roy:  I don't know. He's -- I don't know. He kinda seemed, like, anxious.

Conrad then took his sisters out for ice cream, where his mood seemed to lift.

Erin Moriarty: When you think back on that, would you have ever guessed there was anything wrong that afternoon?

Camdyn and Morgan Roy: No.

After going home, Conrad left at about 6 p.m., telling his mother he was going to see a friend.

Lynn Roy:  And I asked him if he was gonna be back for dinner and he said he didn't think so. And that was the last words that he spoke to me.

THE SEARCH FOR CONRAD

It was July 12, 2014 -- the heart of summer in New England.

Bob McGovern: The sailboats were out. … and it was just a beautiful Massachusetts day.

Boston Herald legal columnist and "48 Hours" consultant Bob McGovern has put together the pieces of Conrad Roy's final hours.

Bob McGovern: …another Massachusetts kid who just seemed to be living a normal life. But apparently behind the scenes there was something else going on.

Conrad had headed out in his pickup truck around 6 p.m. As the evening passed, Lynn Roy checked to see when he'd be home.

Lynn Roy: And I texted him -- I don't know. Before I went to bed maybe around 10:30, 11:00. And then I texted him again in the middle of the night.

Conrad didn't respond. Still, Lynn figured everything was OK. She believed he had beaten back much of his anxieties. That night, Conrad's sister, Camdyn, unexpectedly heard from Michelle Carter -- that 17-year-old who had battled her own mental health issue and lived about an hour away.

Erin Moriarty: How surprised were you that you suddenly got a text from Michelle?

Camdyn Roy: I thought she was just like -- his friend … But in the text, she said, like, "We're boyfriend and girlfriend now." And I was just like -- I looked at my mom. I was like, "They are?"

Whether teenage love or something else, Michelle was sending out the word. Had anyone heard from Conrad Roy?

Erin Moriarty: And what did she text you, exactly?

Camdyn Roy: She was like,"Hey, Camdyn, like, do you know where your brother is?"

Erin Moriarty: Was that unusual for him not to come home?

Lynn Roy: Oh yeah, absolutely … That was not like him at all … That was not like him at all.

It was sunrise. And still, not a word.

Lynn Roy: …so in the morning … I went … by Aryanna's house and he wasn't there.

Aryanna Taylor: And so that's when I began to search. …Where would he be? What happened?

Lynn Roy: …we went by Dad's house and he wasn't – there was no sign of him. Maybe an hour later … I felt … like this -- rush go through my body that I never felt in my life. …I felt at that point that he wasn't with me.

A month after recording the video, Conrad Roy's body was found in his pickup truck in a Kmart parking lot in Fairhaven, Mass.

On the afternoon of July 13, police found him inside his pickup truck, parked at the local Kmart. His cellphone was right next to him.

Lynn Roy: …and he died in his truck. …Carbon monoxide poisoning.

Camdyn Roy: I go in the car and my mom was just, like, crying, like the most I've ever seen her cry… And she was like, "He's gone. Your brother's gone."

Erin Moriarty: It still hurts just as much as it did then, doesn't it?

Camdyn Roy: Uh-huh  [affirms].

"It was a shock. It was an absolute shock," Lynn Roy tells correspondent Erin Moriarty in her first TV interview about the death of her son. "Losing a child, I will live with this forever – the pain."

Lynn Roy: I will live with this forever -- the pain.

Aryanna Taylor: I don't get why it happened, why did it happen? Why did it happen to him?

And Michelle seemed to take Conrad's death as hard as anyone. Once again, "a text" was her choice of communication---this time to Lynn:

Michelle to Lynn Roy: 7/13/2014 | 8:13:46 p.m.:  I am so very sorry. Conrad meant so much to me…

No one questioned the suicide until cops got a hold of Conrad Roy's phone. It would prove to be an investigation like no other. No gun. No knife. No crucial DNA in this case. Only this: a trail of words, starting with those on the cellphone … messages with Michelle Carter.

Bob McGovern: And once investigators found this dialogue, they knew that there was something else up. And they wanted to get to the bottom of it, and so, this thing turned from a suicide investigation into a homicide investigation.

Watch: Michelle Carter's texts with Conrad Roy

Michelle seemed to be encouraging Conrad -- not to live, but to die. Texts flew between the two of them for more than a week, right up to the moment he took his own life:

Conrad to Michelle: 7/12/2014 | 3:40:35 p.m.: I'm determined

Michelle to Conrad: 7/12/2014 | 3:41:33 p.m.: I'm happy to hear that

Michelle to Conrad: 7/12/2014 | 3:47:18 p.m.: When you get back from the beach, you gotta  … do it….

Conrad to Michelle: 7/12/2014 | 4:26:55 p.m.: no more thinking

Michelle to Conrad: 7/12/2014 | 4:26:55 p.m.: Yes, no more thinking you need to just do it...

But now, with Conrad Roy dead, Michelle seemed devastated – acting as if his death was a total surprise.

Aryanna Taylor: When I came to the funeral, she sat up close kind of to where the family area was … I always described her scene as the grieving widow. …she was constantly sobbing … She made a scene.

Erin Moriarty: Conrad's funeral, Michelle came?

Lynn Roy: Yeah.

Erin Moriarty: And did you speak with her then?

Lynn Roy:  No. I gave her a hug. I didn't know her.

And two months later, Michelle even held a fundraiser to honor Conrad in her town of Plainville.

Aryanna Taylor: I found it really weird as soon as I saw the location of Plainville, Massachusetts.  It was like, it didn't make sense to me.

That fall, investigators interviewed Michelle Carter at her high school:

Detective Gordon: Do you think you had contact with him that day?

Michelle Carter: Um, I don't think so.

Michelle Carter: I was talking to him on the phone… like, the night before the 12th, like the phone, like hung up but I didn't -- didn't really think anything of it.

But Michelle's story was riddled with holes and police weren't buying it. They poured through her cellphone. Her texts ranged from urgent to ominous -- like one sent to her friend Samantha Boardman on July 12 at 8:02 p.m. -- just minutes after police believe Conrad killed himself:

Michelle to Samantha: 7/12/2014 | 8:02:12 p.m. He just called me…I heard moaning like someone was in pain and he wouldn't answer when I said his name…

That text was followed by another:

Michelle to Samantha: 7/12/2014 | 8:25:34 p.m.: I think he just killed himself

Michelle was texting her friend, but what she wasn't doing was call for help. And there was at least one more text found on Conrad's phone that now seems telling. Hours before he died, Michelle asked him this:

Michelle to Conrad: 7/12/2014 | 5:17:23 PM ...Did you delete the text messages?

Police would extract more than 1,000 deleted text messages between Conrad and Michelle. Some showed his fear and reluctance to take his life on the very day he died:

Conrad to Michelle: 7/12/2014 |10:18:31 a.m.: Idk I'm freaking out again

Conrad to Michelle: 7/12/2014 |10:22:29 a.m.:  I do want to. but like I'm freaking out for my family…

But even as Conrad panicked and considered abandoning his plan to die, Michelle egged him on. She'd boast about it to her friend Samantha that September in this text:

Michelle to Samantha: 9/15/2014 |8:24:05 p.m.:  Sam his death is my fault like honestly I could have stopped him I was on the phone with him and he got out of the car because it was working and he got scared and I f---ng told him to get back in …

The road to justice would be complicated. Massachusetts has no law against encouraging or assisting suicide. And Michelle was miles away when Conrad died.

Aryanna Taylor: People don't realize in our generation, texting does a lot. It's like having the person right there in front of you when you're texting somebody.

And the Supreme Court of Massachusetts seems to agree. In the summer of 2016, it ruled that even though Michelle was an hour away from Conrad when he died, she had a "virtual presence" that night in that pickup truck. It is a controversial legal theory, born out of a digital world. And now, almost three years after his death, Michelle Carter would stand trial, charged with the involuntary manslaughter.

Michelle's attorneys, fearing how the texts would play, advised her to waive her right to a jury trial. She put her fate in the hands of veteran Judge Lawrence Moniz.

Judge Moniz: Are you doing that in your own free will knowingly and voluntarily?

Michelle Carter: Yes, your honor

THE TRIAL: WHAT'S AT STAKE

Inside a Massachusetts courtroom, Michelle Carter, now 20 years old, looks more like a prep school coed than a criminal defendant.

Prosecutor Maryclare Flynn: She assisted and devised and advised and planned his suicide. She told him that once he was dead he would be happy and free...

Prosecutor Maryclare Flynn: On July 12, 2014, as his truck was filling with carbon monoxide, he was scared. He was got out. It was the defendant [points to Michelle Carter] on the other end of the phone, who ordered him back in and listened for 20 minutes as he cried in pain, took his last breath and died.

The alleged weapon in this case: Michelle Carter's own words.

Bob McGovern: What she did in theory according to the prosecutors ... she recklessly caused Conrad Roy's death.

The state's case revolves around Michelle's chilling text messages to Conrad, as he was apparently having second thoughts, the day he took his life.

Prosecutor Maryclare Flynn: The defendant texted Conrad, "you can't think about it. You just have to do it.... You kept pushing it off. And you say you'll do it, but you never do. It's always going to be that way if you don't take action."

And then, 10 days before he died, Michelle sent him this text message assuring him not to worry about his family's feelings:

Michelle to Conrad: Yeah they'll probably blame themselves for a while, but they will get over it and learn to accept it

It's a notion that baffles and upsets Conrad's mother.

Lynn Roy:  I think she needs to be held responsible for her actions 'cause she knew exactly what she was doing … she knew exactly what she was doing and what she said.

Conrad Roy and his mother, Lynn© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Conrad Roy and his mother, Lynn   Death by Text: The case against Michelle Carter © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

25 Photos

Inside Michelle Carter's suicide text trial

Lynn Roy testified that on the last day of his life, Conrad was in a good frame of mind:

Lynn Roy: He was eating tortilla chips and guacamole on the way to the beach.

Prosecutor MaryClare Flynn: In 2014, did he ever express to you any intent to harm himself?

Lynn Roy: No … I knew he was a little depressed, but I thought he was doing great. He just graduated from high school, got his captain's license. And I thought everything was moving forward not backwards.

But prosecutors contend that Michelle and her incessant texting had immense influence over Conrad even though Michelle was more than 30 miles away from him when he took his life -- that her "virtual presence" caused him to do it.

Prosecutor Maryclare Flynn: She helped him to devise a plan to kill himself using a combustion engine to poison himself with carbon monoxide gas.

Michelle sent Conrad this text message:

I'm not gonna sleep until you're in your car with the generator on.

But defense attorney Joseph Cataldo painted a very different picture.

Defense attorney Joseph Cataldo: …the evidence of texting is overwhelming that Conrad Roy was on this path to take his own life for years. …Michelle Carter was not present. Michelle Carter had been texting with him. She did not physically see this person for over one year.

The defense brings up Conrad's acetaminophen overdose when he was 17, and claims he had been suicidal for years. In part, because of his parent's divorce and he had a contentious relationship with his father.  And, if the judge is considering Michelle's text messages, he should look at all the messages between the teenagers -- even up to a month before Conrad's death.  Michelle seemed like a concerned friend, trying to help a socially awkward and emotionally fragile Conrad.

On June 19, Michelle texts Conrad:

Michelle: Are you 100% positive you're never gonna commit suicide? Be honest with me. Do you think about doing it?

Conrad:No I'm not

In other messages she talks about wanting to take him to a therapist or a mental health hospital.  But on July 1, 11 days before his suicide, texts between Michelle and Conrad took a sinister turn.

Prosecutors let the words tell the story.

MaryClare Flynn: She talked him out of his doubts, point by point. She assured him his family would understand why he did it. She researched logisitics and reassured him that he was likely to succeed and pushed him to stop procrastinating.

Michelle had been sending Conrad suggestions on how to kill himself for weeks:

Michelle to Conrad: Hanging is painless and takes like a second if you do it right

But what would drive anyone to send a text like that?  Prosecutors say Michelle was desperate for friends and attention.  And she got it when she talked about her suicidal boyfriend.  Just days before he died she sent texts to girls she wanted to be close with an effort to get their attention and sympathy – pretending Conrad was missing.

Prosecutor Katie Rayburn: Do you remember getting a message about Conrad being missing?

Alexandra Eblan | Michelle's friend: Yeah.

Prosecutor Katie Rayburn: What did she say?

Samantha Boardman: She's missing they don't know where he is.

Prosecutors says Conrad still being alive presented a problem for Michelle.  She could be exposed as a liar so it was important he kill himself.  On July 12, the night he did take his life, Conrad drove to a Kmart parking lot and texted Michelle:

Conrad:  leavin now

Michelle: Okay. You can do this

Conrad : okay I'm almost there

That was the last text Conrad ever sent to anyone.  But there was a 46-minute phone call. Michelle called him -- she was the last person to speak with him. After that call ended, Michelle texted her friend Samantha.

Prosecutor Katie Rayburn:  I'm gonna ask you to read that text message please aloud.

Samantha Boardman [reads aloud]: "Sam he just called me and there was a loud noise like a motor and I heard moaning like someone was in pain and he wouldn't answer when I said his name I stayed on the phone for like 20 minutes and that's all I heard."

Then, 27 minutes later, Michelle sent Samantha another text message:

Prosecutor Katie Rayburn: And what does she tell you?

Samantha Boardman [reads aloud]: "I think he just killed himself."

Prosecutors say Michelle, within hours, began building a virtual alibi.  Knowing that he was likely dead, she began acting like a concerned friend, sending Conrad this text message:

Michelle to Conrad: I'm scared are you okay? I love you please answer

Michelle showed little emotion at the trial. Her defense relies on Psychiatrist Peter Breggin, who was not treating Michelle, to explain her behavior. He testifies she was involuntarily intoxicated by an antidepressant drug she started taking three months earlier called Celexa.

Dr. Peter Breggin: She's not thinking she's doing something criminal...she's found a way to help her boyfriend.

Dr. Peter Breggin: She was enmeshed in a delusion. She was unable to form intent because she was so grandiose. … you'll see grandiosity, her deciding with him that she can help him.  He wants to die. …He wants to go to heaven and he doesn't want his family and she pronounces that she can do all of that.

But prosecutors completely dismiss that theory.

Prosecutor Katie Rayburn: His dead body is in a car for hours and she withholds that information...

Dr. Peter Breggin: She's psychotic, she's deluded, she disturbed. She's out of touch.

Inexplicably, Michelle sent more than 80 texts to Conrad after he died. In some she even apologizes for not saving him.  But it wasn't just Conrad she texted. The prosecution is hoping the judge pays particular attention to this text she sent a week after Conrad's body was discovered to her friend Samantha:

Michelle to Samantha: …They have to go thru his phone and see if anyone encouraged him to do it on texts and stuff… they read my messages with him, I'm done. His family will hate me. And I could go to jail.

TEENS AND SUICIDE

According to the prosecution, Michelle Carter helped put Conrad Roy in his grave.

Prosecutor Katie Rayburn: It was a felony and she caused serious bodily harm.

According to the defense, she didn't know what she was doing. She was psychotic, delusional, involuntarily intoxicated -- from taking the antidepressant Celexa.

Defense attorney Joseph Cataldo: Michelle Carter underwent an involuntary intoxication in June and July.

To prominent child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Harold Koplewicz, that makes no sense at all. Though not a witness in this case, he says those drugs -- called SSRIs -- are remarkably safe.

Dr. Harold Koplewicz: They don't make you delusional. They don't make you psychotic.

And they don't make you intoxicated.

Dr. Harold Koplewicz: I don't know what involuntary intoxication means. …I don't know who made up that term, but they don't make you drunk.

Dr. Koplewicz believes the act of texting was more mind altering than any drug.

Dr. Harold Koplewicz: And the-- the problem with texts is that it separates you. It makes you feel less responsible. While it's instantaneous, it still also keeps you away from the human contact.

But no amount of distance can explain her behavior, especially the prosecution's contention that Michelle ordered Conrad back into the truck, says the doctor.

Dr. Harold Koplewicz:  It's very hard to understand where the man says, to a friend, "Listen, I'm feeling pain. I don't wanna do this. I'm going to get out of the car." There's no way to seem to -- make sense of the fact that someone then says, a friend says, "Get back in the car and kill yourself."

Dr. Harold Koplewicz: This is -- really had a vicious and -- a very, very malicious quality to it.

No matter how malicious, Dr. Koplewizc says Michelle really couldn't have convinced Conrad to kill himself if he hadn't already been suicidal.

Dr. Harold Koplewicz: So while Michelle could not force Conrad to kill himself, she could enhance his risk of killing himself. She could encourage him to complete the act, because he was already on his way. And simultaneously, she could have screamed out for help. …Which might have prevented this deadly outcome.

Conrad Roy [video]: I want to recover from this and I feel like I haven't recovered-- from it yet. I feel I still have a long way to go

Clearly, the heartbreaking videos now posted on YouTube show a young man looking for that different outcome, says Dr. Koplewicz.

Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz: You expose yourself like this … it says, "Please help me."

Conrad Roy [video]: I've created a monster out of myself because of my depression

Sadly, Conrad Roy is not alone. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this year alone, we will lose nearly 5,000 young people between the ages of 14 and 24 to suicide. And around 600,000 may take such serious enough attempts that they end up the emergency room. One reason is that adolescents are simply more prone to depression and anxiety. Another reason is they're more susceptible to peer pressure.

Watch: What makes the teenage brain susceptible to suicide?

Which is why the Netflix show "13 Reasons Why" has caused such an uproar. In the show, a teenage girl dies by suicide and leaves 13 recordings to other teens whom she blames.

How to talk with your teen about "13 Reasons Why"

Dr. Koplewicz: I think it is one of the most dangerous programs on the air right now for the simple reason that it glamorizes suicide. …unfortunately, suicide's very contagious … we know that teenagers who watch these kind of TV programs are more likely to think about suicide, are more likely to attempt suicide, are more likely to commit suicide.

It appears that Michelle Carter may have been one of those teens influenced by what she saw on TV; not "13 Reasons Why," but perhaps an episode of "Glee."

When an actor on "Glee" died of an overdose in real life, the show wrote his death into the script.

There are similarities between what the character Rachel says about the loss of her boyfriend and what Michelle Carter later says about losing Conrad:

Rachel: I had it all planned out.

Will: Did you tell him?

Rachel: I didn't have to. He knew.

Michelle's text to a friend after Conrad died is almost word for word: I had it all planned out. ... He knew too I didn't have to tell him.

Rachel on "Glee": He was my person

Michelle writes the same exact line: He was my person.

Prosecutor Katie Rayburn: Poor her. Her boyfriend died. They were gonna get married one day and now she's the grieving girlfriend.

According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it all boiled down to that starring role as the grieving girlfriend.

Prosecutor Katie Rayburn: The Commonwealth's position, your Honor, is that she wanted attention

After six days of testimony, closing arguments begin. The defense is up first.

Defense attorney Joe Cataldo: The evidence actually establishes that Conrad Roy caused his own death.

Joe Cataldo reminds the judge that Conrad had attempted suicide before, and points to a text Conrad wrote to Michelle:

Conrad to Michelle: there's nothing anyone can do for me that's gonna make me wanna to live. It's very bad to hear, but I want to let you know that. truthfully.

The decision to die was Conrad's, not Michelle's, says Cataldo.

Defense attorney Joe Cataldo: He created the situation, your honor. She didn't create this situation of somebody who said, "I don't want to kill myself. I have no thoughts of that. Everything's good with me." And somehow she tricked him or bribed him or threatened him to do something as drastic as suicide.

Most importantly, Michelle was nowhere near Conrad when he killed himself.

Defense attorney Joe Cataldo: There's no evidence that Michelle Carter has any physical actions whatsoever in this case, with Conrad Roy's decision. It was all of his physical activity.

Prosecutor Katie Rayburn gets the last word.

Prosecutor Katie Rayburn: – and although she wasn't physically present, she was in his ear. She was in his mind. She was on the phone. And she was telling him to get back in the car, even though she knew he was going to die.

Prosecutor Katie Rayburn: She absolutely knew it was wrong. And she absolutely caused the death of this 18-year-old boy. And I ask you to find her guilty.

THE JUDGE'S DECISION

Three days after Judge Lawrence Moniz began his deliberations, it's judgement day.

Judge Lawrence Moniz: It is apparent to this court in a review of the evidence that Mr. Roy was struggling with is issues and seeing a way to address them.

You could feel the tension as the judge spent 15 long minutes explaining his thought process, noting that Conrad played a big part in his own death.

Judge Lawrence Moniz: He spoke of it continually, he secured the generator, he secured the water pump.

But then the judge turned his attention to the moment Conrad had second thoughts.

Judge Lawrence Moniz: He breaks that chain of self causation by exiting the vehicle.

The judge then looks at Michelle Carter and the stoic composure she maintained throughout the trial dissolves.

The judge described a desperate teenager at the brink of death. As the truck filled with poisonous carbon monoxide gas, Conrad got scared and got out of the vehicle: "…when he exited truck—he literally sought fresh air."

Judge Lawrence Moniz: She instructs him to get back into the truck well knowing of the feelings he has exchanged with her … his ambiguities, his fears his concerns.

This is the text Michelle sent to a friend that seemed to bother Judge Moniz the most:

Michelle to Samantha: 9/15/2014 8:24:05 p.m.: Sam his death is my fault like honestly I could have stopped him I was on the phone with him and he got out of the car because it was working and he got scared and I f---ing told him to get back in ...

The judge said Carter caused a dangerous environment, and under Massachusetts law, she had a duty to save him.

Judge Lawrence Moniz: She did not call the police or Mr. Roy's family … she called no one and she did not issue a simple additional instruction: get out of the truck.

The judge completely rejects the notion Michelle was involuntarily intoxicated from the use of antidepressants as a way to explain her behavior.

Michelle Carter text suicide trial verdict

Judge Lawrence Moniz: Miss Carter, please stand. …This court, having reviewed the evidence and applied the law thereto now finds you guilty on the indictment charging you with the involuntary manslaughter of the person Conrad Roy the third.

Watch: Michelle Carter found guilty in text suicide trial

Guilty. Lynn Roy was tearful. Conrad's father expressed his gratitude.

Conrad Roy Jr: This has been a very tough time for our family and we would like process this verdict that we are happy with

Prosecutor Katie Rayburn: I know we all wish he had the opportunity to grow up into adulthood to become a tug-boat captain and to enjoy his future.

Michelle Carter was a juvenile when she committed this crime and will be out on bail until sentencing on August 3.

Ed McFarland | Michelle's former coach: Obviously it's not right what happened here, but by the same token, it wasn't criminal either.  …I don't see how you get manslaughter out of this

Michelle Carter could get 20 years behind bars, but Conrad Roy's family is living a life sentence.

Conrad Roy [on video talking to computer]: I'm a nice kid but it comes to a point where I'm just … too nice.

Erin Moriarty: When do you miss him the most?

Camdyn Roy: Like, when I'm just being a teenager, like, early in the morning. And, l just, like, listen to music. I cry so much.

Morgan Roy: I moved into his, like, room recently. So, like, everything's kinda, like, still the same, it, like, brings me, like, more closer to him but still makes me sad.

Lynn Roy: My son mattered. He matters. Will always matter. …Someone that had a family and future and mom and dad.

Lynn Roy does not need a verdict to tell her what she already knows. That words have power… so much power, they can forever change lives.

Lynn Roy: The fact that she would say to him, "Your family will get over you." How is that even -- I will never get over him.

RESOURCES

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Lifeline crisis chat. In an emergency, call 911.

Click here to learn more about the risk factors, warning signs and prevention of teen suicide.

Teen who sent texts urging suicide thought she was 'grand, helping person' .
The defense for a Massachusetts woman charged with using text messages to encourage her boyfriend to kill himself when they were teenagers rested its case Tuesday.&nbsp;Michelle Carter is charged with manslaughter in the 2014 suicide of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!