scorecardresearch

How the testimony unfolded on the first day of the texting suicide case

Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz  had a sidebar with attorneys before opening statements.
Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz had a sidebar with attorneys before opening statements. (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

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.”

“She pushed him to kill himself sooner rather than later,” assistant district attorney Maryclare Flynn said in her opening statement.
“She pushed him to kill himself sooner rather than later,” assistant district attorney Maryclare Flynn said in her opening statement. (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

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.

Advertisement



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.’’

Texts from Carter’s phone after Roy’s death were also shown during opening statements.

(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)
(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

In his opening statement, Carter’s defense attorney, Joe Cataldo, said that Roy’s death was “a suicide, not a homicide.”

“He was suicidal and wanted to take his own life,” said Michelle Carter’s defense attorney, Joe Cataldo, of Conrad Roy in his opening statement.
“He was suicidal and wanted to take his own life,” said Michelle Carter’s defense attorney, Joe Cataldo, of Conrad Roy in his opening statement.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

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.”

Advertisement



Michelle Carter listened to the prosecution’s opening statement.
Michelle Carter listened to the prosecution’s opening statement.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

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.

After the opening statements came to a close, the first witness called to the stand was Roy’s mother, Lynn.

Conrad Roy’s mother, Lynn.
Conrad Roy’s mother, Lynn.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

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.

Lynn Roy was offered tissues during her testimony before Judge Lawrence Moniz.
Lynn Roy was offered tissues during her testimony before Judge Lawrence Moniz.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

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 began texting Conrad Roy’s mother after his death.
Michelle Carter began texting Conrad Roy’s mother after his death.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

During a cross-examination, Cataldo asked Lynn Roy questions that highlighted the 18-year-old’s rocky relationship with his father.

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.

Advertisement



Retired Fairhaven officer David Michael Correia, left, went over a map of part of his search area with prosecutor Katie Rayburn.
Retired Fairhaven officer David Michael Correia, left, went over a map of part of his search area with prosecutor Katie Rayburn.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

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.

A photograph of the truck in which Conrad Roy III killed himself.
A photograph of the truck in which Conrad Roy III killed himself.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)
Relatives of Conrad Roy began weeping as crime scene photos were shown.
Relatives of Conrad Roy began weeping as crime scene photos were shown.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)
(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)
(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)
(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

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 pointed to Michelle Carter to identify her while testifying Tuesday.
Camdyn Roy pointed to Michelle Carter to identify her while testifying Tuesday.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

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.

Camdyn Roy, the sister Conrad Roy III, wiped away tears as she testified.
Camdyn Roy, the sister Conrad Roy III, wiped away tears as she testified.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

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.

Thomas Gammell, who described himself as Conrad Roy’s best friend, took the stand.
Thomas Gammell, who described himself as Conrad Roy’s best friend, took the stand.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)
Michelle Carter, right, listened to Gammell’s testimony.
Michelle Carter, right, listened to Gammell’s testimony. (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

Two more witnesses were called to the stand before the day came to a close.

Massachusetts State Trooper Paul Bartlett held a copy of a photo he took of the deceased's body inside a pickup truck.
Massachusetts State Trooper Paul Bartlett held a copy of a photo he took of the deceased's body inside a pickup truck.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)
Retired Fairhaven Fire Department Lt. Walt Therrian testified.
Retired Fairhaven Fire Department Lt. Walt Therrian testified.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

Jan Ransom of the Globe staff contributed to this report.