A teenage girl who allegedly encouraged her friend to commit suicide has argued that her case should be dismissed because encouraging someone else to kill themselves is not a crime in the state of Massachusetts.
18-year-old honours student Michelle Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter earlier this year after her friend, Conrad Roy III died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the parking lot of a Kmart last July.
In the hours leading up to Roy’s death, Carter reportedly sent him hundreds of text messages urging him to follow through with his suicide attempt, even ordering him to “get back in” his truck and gas himself after he appeared to have second thoughts.
However, her lawyer has now filed a motion in juvenile court to dismiss Carter’s case, claiming her alleged actions did not violate any existing law in the state.
As reported by the Boston Herald, in court, attorney Joseph Cataldo said:
There’s no law in Massachusetts that says you can’t encourage someone else to commit suicide, like there is in some other states.
Cataldo reportedly filed the motion on Monday, citing “insufficient evidence” for his client’s indictment, also pointing out that she was a youthful offender (Carter was 17 at the time of the Roy’s death) and should be tried as such (she would face a far longer prison sentence as an adult).
Unlike 40 other U.S. states Massachusetts does not have a statute that criminalizes assisted suicide, meaning that, according to experts, the case against Carter will be an “uphill battle” for the prosecution.
18-year-old Conrad Roy’s body was found in his pickup truck after his parents reported him missing. Police later discovered the text messages between Roy and Carter on Roy’s mobile phone.
Just hours after her friend’s death, Carter took to her Twitter page to express her apparent heartbreak over the loss, and even organised a suicide prevention softball fundraiser in his name which raised $2,300.
At the time, Carter wrote:
Such a beautiful soul gone too soon. I’ll always remember your bright light and smile. You’ll forever be in my heart, I love you Conrad.
Three days later, she added, “I will never understand why this had to happen”. A few days after that, however, Carter allegedly told a friend she had encouraged Roy to get back into his truck and take his own life, “Because I knew he would do it all over again the next day”.
Roy, who was battling depression, had tried to commit suicide a year earlier and, in February, Carter’s attorney had argued that Carter was actually trying to help Roy last July.
Taking all the texts in context, she tried to talk him out of it.
Carter’s parents added earlier this year that she “tried immensely to help Mr. Roy in his battle with depression”.
Carter’s motion is now under advisement.