At first it appeared to be a simple, if devastating, tragedy.
On July 13, 2014, Massachusetts teenager Conrad Roy was found dead in his truck. The windows were all rolled up, and it appeared as though the 18 year old had taken his life by inhaling carbon monoxide.
In the days that followed, Roy’s girlfriend, Michelle Carter, appeared distraught over her boyfriend’s death.
“I will never understand why this had to happen” she wrote in a Twitter post on July 16.
“Such a beautiful soul gone too soon. I’ll always remember your bright light and smile. You’ll forever be in my heart, I love you Conrad” she wrote in another.
Yet it soon became clear that Carter’s role in the tragedy went far beyond that of grieving girlfriend after police discovered texts from Carter that actively encouraged him to commit suicide.
“Tonight is the night. It’s now or never,” Carter wrote in one message. “Everyone will be sad for a while but they will get over it and move on,” she reasoned in another.
On the night of his death, Carter’s texts revealed that Roy had second thoughts and got out of the truck to call Carter. “Get back in” she ordered him via a text message.
On Friday the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts had probable cause to indict Carter in Roy’s death.
Justice Robert Cordy found that Carter engaged in a “systematic campaign of coercion” that targeted Roy’s insecurities. In a summation, it said that “but for the defendant’s admonishments, pressure and instructions, the victim would nto have gotten back into the truck and poisoned himself to death”.
The decision came after Carter appealed an earlier court ruling that she must stand trial.
However, civil liberties experts say the case raises concerns. After all, can anyone really be held responsible for another person’s suicide?
Roy’s grandmother, Janice Roy, said the family is happy that Carter will stand trial.