Attorney: Michelle Carter’s statements to police not admissible

In this Aug. 24, 2015, file photo, Michelle Carter listens to her defense attorney argue for an involuntary manslaughter charge against her to be dismissed at Juvenile Court in New Bedford, Mass. (Peter Pereira/The New Bedford Standard Times via AP, Pool, File)

TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Lawyers for a woman accused of encouraging her boyfriend to kill himself argued Friday that her statements to police should be thrown out.

Michelle Carter, 20, is charged with involuntary manslaughter for sending 18-year-old Conrad Roy III text messages telling him to carry out his plan to commit suicide back in 2014. Roy died of carbon monoxide poisoning inside his pickup truck.

Police alleged that Roy was having second thoughts about taking his own life and that Carter encouraged him to go through with it.

The case drew national attention after transcripts of text messages Carter sent to Roy were released publicly, showing her urging him to follow through on his plan to kill himself and chastising him when he expressed doubts.

Carter: “You can’t think about it. You just have to do it. You said you were gonna do it. Like I don’t get why you aren’t.”

Conrad: “I don’t get it either. I don’t know.”

Carter: “So I guess you aren’t gonna do it then. All that for nothing. I’m just confused. Like you were so ready and determined.”

Conrad: “I am gonna eventually. I really don’t know what I’m waiting for but I have everything lined up.”

Carter: “No, you’re not, Conrad. Last night was it. You kept pushing it off and you say you’ll do it, but you never do. It’s always gonna be that way if you don’t take action. You’re just making it harder on yourself by pushing it off. You just have to do it.”

In Taunton Juvenile Court Friday, her attorneys argued that police did not read Carter her rights before speaking with her and that her phone and computer were accessed improperly. Therefore, they argued, a jury should not hear those statements.

Prosecutors said Carter spoke with police detectives in the lobby of her school and was not in custody at that time, and that in fact she provided the detectives with the password to unlock her phone so they could read it.

“Told her that she was free to leave at any time,” said prosecutor Katie Rayburn. “He then asked if they could speak to her. She agreed. He then asked if he could record it, which he did.”

“They then had a conversation that lasted approximately seven minutes,” Rayburn continued. “They asked some questions. I would suggest you will hear the defendant did almost all the talking.”

The defense argues that Carter was coaxed by police.

“If she were ever convicted, clearly we would take this into the federal system under the First Amendment,” said defense attorney Joseph Cataldo. “There was no crime committed here. It’s freedom of speech. She encouraged him to take his own life, given the fact that he persuaded her to encourage him.”

Cataldo claims Carter had actually told Roy to seek help for his suicidal thoughts and that her text messages did not cause Roy, who had a history of depression, to kill himself.

“She encouraged him to live, to get help at McLean Hospital. He rejected that,” said Cataldo. “He said, ‘No, I’m not going back to a mental hospital. They make me worse.'”

A judge will now issue a ruling on whether Carter’s text messages to Roy can be included as evidence in her trial, which was scheduled to start in early December, but which could now be delayed.