Judge denies funds for drug expert in texting suicide case

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)
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. (AP) — A Massachusetts woman charged with manslaughter after sending her boyfriend text messages encouraging him to take his own life has been dealt a setback.

An attorney for 20-year-old Michelle Carter asked a judge Thursday for funds to hire an expert to explain, at trial, the effects of an antidepressant.

Attorney Joseph Cataldo said both Carter and her boyfriend, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, were taking Celexa. He said it has a warning that it may cause suicidal thoughts.

But the judge denied the request, saying Celexa’s effect on Roy was “speculative.” The judge approved funds, however, for the defense to hire an expert on adolescent behavior.

Roy was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in his pickup truck in Fairhaven. Carter was 17 at the time of Roy’s July 2014 death.

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.”

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