By Beth David, Editor
Michelle Carter, the Plainville woman who has been charged with manslaughter in the 2014 suicide death of Conrad Roy III, was in court for a pretrial hearing on Friday, 7/29, for the first time since her appeal to the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court was rejected. The SJC ruled that there was enough evidence for Ms. Carter to be tried for manslaughter and that she should be tried as a “youthful offender,” which means she is treated as an adult, with all proceedings made public, although she is being tried in juvenile court. She was 17 at the time of Mr. Roy’s death; she will turn 20 next week.
Mr. Roy was found in his pickup truck in the parking lot of the Fairhaven KMart on July 13, 2014. A gasoline powered water pump was in the cab with him. He died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
An investigation by Fairhaven Police uncovered a series of text messages and emails showing that Ms. Carter allegedly encouraged Mr. Roy to kill himself.
Although Ms. Carter was in Plainville at the time, prosecutors contend that her behavior, in the form of texts and phone calls, constituted wanton and reckless behavior resulting in his death.
In particular, an email in which she tells a friend that she told him to get back in the truck when he got out, fearing that it was working.
Ms. Carter’s attorney’s filed 22 motions with the court on Friday, including a motion to
suppress “all evidence obtained by the Commonwealth from the defendant and her possessions,” on several grounds, including that she was not informed of her right to keep silent and her right to an attorney.
That motion also claims that the search and seizure was made without a warrant and violated the US Constitution and Mass. General Laws.
The motion also claims that Ms. Carter was not “properly advised and fully aware of her constitutional right to consult with and be represented by counsel,” that her statements were not made voluntarily and that she did not “knowingly and voluntarily waive her rights, including Marina Rights, nor voluntarily consent to any such search and seizure.
Judge Lawrence Moniz set a hearing date of October 14 to hear evidence on that motion. The judge also set a hearing date of September 2 for a discovery motion.
Most of the motions were for discovery, including Conrad Roy’s psychiatric and hospital records from St. Luke’s, Tobey, Boston Children’s Hospital, Bournewood, his psychiatrist and his medical doctor. The defense also asked for school records from Bishop Stang High School, Old Rochester Regional High School, Fitchburg State and Northeast Maritime Institute in Fairhaven where Mr. Roy received his captain’s license.
According to the court records, the defense is trying to find evidence of Mr. Roy’s “intellect and education and whether he could be ‘coerced’ to commit suicide or had the mental capability and intellect to know the consequences of his own actions that lead to his death.”
Other discovery motions are for records from the Mattapoisett police department regarding Mr. Roy’s suicide attempt in 2012 and a restraining order against his mother stemming from a dispute with Conrad’s father, Conrad Roy, Jr.
The defense has also asked for a variety of digital records, including Facebook posts and messages from Conrad Roy’s friend.
“…these communications contradict part of the Commonwealth’s theory that the defendant failed to inform anyone close to the decedent of her knowledge of his mental health and intent and plan to commit suicide in the years and months before he did so,” reads the motion.
The defense also asked for funds for experts in adolescent psychology, and “clinical forensic pharmacology,” specifically to address the effects of Celexa (a/k/a Citalopram) on “suicidal ideation, impulsivity and behavior.”
Celexa showed up in Mr. Roy’s toxicology report, according to court records. Ms. Carter was also taking Celexa in 2014, according to court records.
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