Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss in Texting Suicide Trial | NBC Southern California
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Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss in Texting Suicide Trial

The defense says Roy was depressed, in part, because of family abuse

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    Michelle Carter is accused of manslaughter after allegedly convincing her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to commit suicide.

    (Published Monday, June 12, 2017)

    A judge denied a request Friday to dismiss charges against Michelle Carter, who is accused of encouraging her boyfriend to kill himself through a series of text messages.

    Carter is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the July 2014 suicide of Conrad Roy III. The request for a direct verdict by Carter's defense attorney is standard legal procedure.

    "I think the evidence is insufficient to say she caused him to die," Carter's lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, argued. "Mr. Roy was suicidal for a very, very lengthy period of time."

    After Judge Lawrence Moniz rejected the request, the defense called its first witness.

    Steve Verronneau, a forensic expert who examined computers owned by Roy, testified that the teen searched suicide methods. He said Roy visited a website that explained "Easy, quick and painless ways to commit suicide" and Googled "suicide by cop."

    The defense also called a police officer to the stand, who said he found Roy with a swollen and cut face while responding to an assault report. The defense says Roy was depressed, in part, because of family abuse.

    Court adjourned for the day shortly after 2 p.m. The defense will continue to call witnesses on Monday.

    The prosecution rested its case on Thursday after playing two videos found on Roy’s computer that he had made about a month before his death in which he explained his inner turmoil.

    In one, he called himself a "minuscule, little particle on the face of this earth" and "no good trash." But he also expressed hope, calling himself "nice and caring" and saying "Look at me. I've got nice teeth. I've got a nice smile."

    Prosecutors allege that Carter pressured Roy to kill himself through a series of texts and phone calls. Carter, now 20, was 17 when the 18-year-old Roy died.

    She also offered ways that Roy could take his own life. In one message, Carter wrote: "Hang yourself, jump off a building, stab yourself idk there's a lot of ways."

    Roy was found dead in his pickup truck in July 2014 in a store parking lot in Fairhaven. He had lethal amounts of carbon monoxide and prescription antidepressants in his system.

    Cataldo, Carter's lawyer, has argued that no crime was committed. He says 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.

    The troopers and the pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Roy's body also testified on Thursday.

    The case is being heard without a jury.