Tuesday was the first day of the trial of Michelle Carter, who in 2014 allegedly pressured Conrad Roy III into committing suicide.
Roy was 18 when he was found dead in a pickup truck after inhaling a fatal dose of carbon monoxide generated by a gasoline-powered water pump installed in the truck.
The trial began around 9 a.m., and after a short back and forth, prosecutors began delivering opening statements.
Bristol Assistant District Attorney Maryclare Flynn showed texts Carter sent to Roy, one of which said, “It’s time to do it today.”
Flynn said the two had confided in each other about their struggles, and that Carter suggested ways for Roy to kill himself, such as by hanging. Flynn also said that Carter craved attention, and wanted to be seen as the grieving girlfriend, according to a Globe reporter who was in the courtroom.
Both Roy and Carter struggled with mental health issues, but Carter exploited Roy’s vulnerabilities relentlessly during the summer of 2014 at a time when she tried to befriend girls in her high school “and texted them incessantly” but was rebuffed.
“She was trying to get close to them and be part of their lives,’’ Flynn said. Carter “needed something to get their attention and she used Conrad in her sick game of life and death.’’
ADA: Ppl started consoling her after Conrad's death & she enjoyed the attn She started posting about him on FB and said "LOL I'm famous now"— Jan Ransom (@Jan_Ransom) June 6, 2017
Texts from Carter’s phone after Roy’s death were also shown during opening statements.
In his opening statement, Carter’s defense attorney, Joe Cataldo, said that Roy’s death was “a suicide, not a homicide.”
Cataldo said Roy was a deeply troubled teenager who was a victim of domestic violence and long wanted to end his life, and finally made the choice independent of everyone but himself.
“Conrad Roy was on this path to take his own life for years,’’ Cataldo 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.”
Cataldo also said that Carter told her therapist she was “overwhelmed” by Roy’s struggles, and that she sent Roy articles on how to deal with suicidal thoughts.
Defense: Michelle text Conrad encouraging him to get professional help early on in relationship and suggested the 2 get help together— Jan Ransom (@Jan_Ransom) June 6, 2017
After the opening statements came to a close, the first witness called to the stand was Roy’s mother, Lynn.
Lynn Roy said her son spent the day before he died at the beach with his mother, siblings, and friends, showing no sign that he wanted to end his life and no sign that the anxiety that led to a hospitalization in 2012 had returned, his mother said Tuesday.
The family returned home, and Lynn Roy testified that she then asked her 18-year-old son a routine question.
“Will you be back for dinner?” she asked.
“I don’t think so,’’ he replied.
It was the last time she saw her son alive. Hours later, his body was found.
The mother testified that after her son’s death, Carter — who was 17 years old at the time — began texting her.
“I am so very sorry Conrad meant so much to me,’’ Carter texted to Lynn Roy. “He was such a bright light, such a beautiful soul. Please stay strong.’’
Michelle Carter text Conrad Roy's mother who had expressed that she felt she failed her son: "You didn't fail him, not even a little bit."— Jan Ransom (@Jan_Ransom) June 6, 2017
"U tried your hardest, I tried my hardest, everyone tried their hardest to save him," she continued to text— Jan Ransom (@Jan_Ransom) June 6, 2017
During a cross-examination, Cataldo asked Lynn Roy questions that highlighted the 18-year-old’s rocky relationship with his father.
Defense slowly pulling info out re Conrad's relationship with father in 2014. For a brief period Lynn Roy said "it wasn't the greatest one."— Jan Ransom (@Jan_Ransom) June 6, 2017
Afterwards, retired Fairhaven police officer David Michael Correia was called to the stand, where he detailed his search for Roy — whose body he eventually found.
The prosecution then showed a photo of Roy in the vehicle with sunglasses on, his face red. After the photo was shown, some of his relatives in the courtroom began openly weeping.
The next witness was Roy’s sister, Camdyn, who said she met Carter in Florida in 2012 through her great aunt and uncle, who knew Carter’s relatives. She saw Carter again July 10, 2014, at her cousin’s party — a party her brother also attended.
Camdyn Roy began to cry as she described the last time she saw her brother alive. She also said after her brother died, she found notebooks in a drawer that belonged to him, which included suicide notes to his mother, father, sister, and Carter.
After Camdyn’s testimony was finished, Thomas Gammell, a 22-year-old who described himself as Roy’s best friend, took the stand, saying that Roy never mentioned Carter’s name to him.
Two more witnesses were called to the stand before the day came to a close.
Jan Ransom of the Globe staff contributed to this report.