As the deadly carbon monoxide fumes from a gasoline-powered generator filled his lungs, a suicidal Conrad Roy III got scared and stepped out of his truck, but police say his 18-year-old girlfriend goaded him into taking his life with three chilling words: “Get back in.”
Roy, 18, was found dead on July 13 inside his truck in the parking lot of a Fairhaven Kmart. “The sickly sweet taste of exhaust gas still could be detected,” according to police.
Michelle Carter, who was a 17-year-old student at King Philip Regional High School at the time of Roy’s death, faces up to 20 years behind bars on a charge of involuntary manslaughter and will be tried as an adult.
“Michelle Carter not only encouraged Conrad to take his own life, she questioned him repeatedly as to when and why he hadn’t done it yet, right up to the point of when his final text was sent to her on Saturday evening, July 12, 2014 at 6:26 p.m.,” the police report states.
Carter referred to Roy as her “guardian angel,” and continued texting his cellphone 71 times after he died, according to police.
After his death, the messages show Carter morphing into a suicide awareness crusader, hosting a fundraiser in his name and comforting his grieving mother and sister, according to the filings.
The night before Roy’s suicide, Carter texted a friend, seemingly worried about his whereabouts: “I’m losing all hope that he’s even still alive” — and “I’m thankful that our last words were ‘I love you.’ ”
But just before sending that message, she texted Roy: “Let me know when you’re gonna do it.”
Police say Carter never called 911 and instead continued texting her friends, feigning concern.
After Roy’s death, police say Carter exchanged emails with Roy’s mother, Lynn, trying to comfort and reassure her:
“I tried talking him out of it so many times,” Carter wrote, “and telling him how we could always be together and he wanted that but he thought he would never truly be happy with himself.”
She even organized a baseball fundraiser called “Homers for Conrad” that pulled in more than $2,300 for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
No one answered the phone at Carter’s Plainville home yesterday. But her lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, told the Herald, “It’s a sad story but what we have is a young man who made a voluntary decision to take his own life — it was his voluntary decision — his death was not caused by Michelle Carter.
“It is a slippery slope if the government is now going to prosecute people under a manslaughter — a 20-year felony charge — for not preventing those who want to commit suicide and that’s what they’re trying to do here,” Cataldo said.
Roy’s distraught grandparents called the tale “bizarre” and “mind-boggling” and said they were “shocked” when they heard about Carter’s emails and texts.
“It was just horrible to live this all over again and to find out how this came about. I mean, we knew he was suffering from depression, but we thought he was getting over it all,” Janice Roy, his grandmother, said in her Mattapoisett home.
Asked if they thought Carter’s messages convinced Roy to kill himself, his grandfather Conrad Roy Sr. said, “Her texts had a big influence on what happened.”
Added Janice Roy: It’s hard to say why, but after reading the reports ... I don’t think he would have done anything at that time.”
Both remembered a happy grandson who loved baseball and rowing and was ecstatic when he earned his captain’s license, following in both his father and grandfather’s footsteps.
Conrad Roy Sr. said he took him out on his tug boat when “C3” was just 3-days-old. “That was like the start of the third generation when he got his captain’s license,” Roy said. “That was like the most heart-warming thing that I could remember.”