Chilling texts that led to death
WARNING: DISTRESSING CONTENT
Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy III met in 2012 when they were both teenagers.
They had seen each other in person only a handful of times, even though they lived just 55km apart in Massachusetts, but began a relationship and communicated mostly through text messages and phone calls.
In July 2014, Conrad Roy, 18, took his own life. He was found in his pick-up truck parked in a store carpark, with lethal levels of carbon monoxide and prescription antidepressants in his system.
In the hours, days and weeks before Roy's death, he had been texting with his girlfriend Carter, then 17, about his mental wellbeing and his suicidal thoughts.
The nature of Carter's texts - the couple exchanged more than 1000 messages in the lead up to Roy's death - led authorities to charge her with involuntary manslaughter.
Carter was convicted in 2017 and sentenced to 15 months in jail. She is currently serving that sentence in prison.
Now her legal team is seeking an appeal on the conviction.
In new court documents, her lawyers argue that prosecutors "cherrypicked" the worst text messages to present to the court, in order to paint Carter in the worst possible light.
They refer specifically to one text message which told Roy to get back in his truck as it filled with deadly carbon monoxide.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has agreed to consider her appeal.
THE SHOCKING TEXT MESSAGES
Roy had shared his feelings of loneliness and despair with Carter, who encouraged suicide as an option, even suggesting various methods in a chilling dot-point list.
When Roy texted Carter that "I keep regretting the past it's getting me upset," her response was: "Take your life?" and later added, "The time is right and you're ready, you just need to do it!"
In response to Roy expressing trepidation about killing himself, Carter sent him a series of texts appearing to encourage him.
"Don't be scared. You already made this decision and if you don't do it tonight you're gonna be thinking about it all the time and stuff all the rest of your life and be miserable," she wrote.
"You're finally going to be happy in heaven. No more pain. No more bad thought and worries. You'll be free.
"It's OK to be scared and it's normal. I mean, you're about to die. I would be concerned if you weren't scared, but I know how bad you want this and how bad you want to be happy. You have to face your fears for what you want."
Carter sent Roy a list of various ways he could kill himself, which news.com.au has chosen not to publish. "idk [I don't know] there's a lot of ways," she wrote.
In one text exchange, she chastised Roy for not going ahead with plans.
Carter: "You're gonna have to prove me wrong because I just don't think you really want this. You just keeps pushing it off to another night and say you'll do it but you never do"
Carter: "SEE THAT'S WHAT I MEAN. YOU KEEP PUSHING IT OFF! You just said you were gonna do it tonight and now you're saying eventually …
Carter: "But I bet you're gonna be like 'Oh, it didn't work … I bet you're gonna say an excuse like that"
Carter: "Do you have the generator?"
Roy: "not yet lol"
Carter: "WELL WHEN ARE YOU GETTING IT"
Following Roy's death, Carter sent lots of texts messages to her friends expressing remorse.
"His death is my fault like honestly I could have stopped him," she wrote to one friend.
"I was on the phone with him and he got out of the [truck] because it was working and he got scared and I f***ing told him to get back in [redacted] because I knew he would do it all over again the next day and I couldn't have him live the way he was living anymore I couldn't do it I wouldn't let him."
But Carter's lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, said no crime was committed. He said Roy had a history of depression, had previously attempted suicide and was entirely responsible for his own death. He said Carter's texts are protected free speech.
Cataldo argued that Roy was depressed after his parents' divorce, was physically and verbally abused by family members and had long thought of suicide, even researching suicide methods online, he said.
When Roy suggested they should be like Romeo and Juliet, the lovers who killed themselves in the Shakespeare play, Carter said she didn't want them to die, Cataldo said.
"Conrad Roy was on this path to take his own life for years," he said.
"It was Conrad Roy's idea to take his own life. It was not Michelle Carter's idea. This was a suicide, a sad and tragic suicide, but not a homicide."
Mr Cataldo also claimed it is not illegal to encourage someone to commit suicide.
"Massachusetts common law has never said that words alone without physical presence has been sufficient to constitute a homicide - not until this case," he said.
"Any new definition of common law can only be applied moving forward, you cannot apply it to past events."
But Roy's family said if it wasn't for Carter, he would still be alive.
"She has to live as one of the most hated people in the country," his aunt Kim Bozzi said. "I don't think she helped to kill himself, I think she forced him to kill himself."
If you or someone you know is in need of crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au. In an emergency call 000.