Sitting quietly in the courtroom of Taunton District Courthouse at nine A.M. a packed audience, comprised mainly of journalists, jumps up duteously. His Honor has entered the room. Massachusetts Taunton District Court, a newly constructed building, opened in 2011. Bright, clean, sunny and spacious, the ambience seems intended to help placate its visitors; the masses of unfortunate souls who pass through the glass enclosed entrance many enduring the darkest times of their life. A trial concerning a suicide strikes a collective nerve.
On the left side of the court sits Michelle Carter and her legal team, on the right, the prosecution backed by Conrad Roy III’s family and friends. Everyone is suffering similar to Roy’s state when he took his own life on the evening of July 12, 2014. Michelle appears to have shed half her size since her court battles began back in 2015. Outwardly, she is well-prepared for the media exposure. Her hair looks professionally styled and her outfits emit understated chic. One can only imagine how much time, effort and funds were invested by her parents to present their daughter in the best possible light. Her father sits directly behind her, day after day. Father-daughter statues watching on as the attorneys joust before the judge. Across the aisle, Roy’s family members grieve openly.
Illuminated by a skylight, the judge monitors everything from his elevated platform. His venerable visage somewhat contrasts with the modern, therapeutically-designed tribunal. Only he will decide Carter’s fate as the rest of the world gives their verdicts, armed with only a portion of the evidence. Journalists discovered that Carter was apparently obsessed with an actress/singer in the television program ‘Glee.’ A teenager idolizing a musical artist is perfectly normal. However, it appears Carter took things a bit too far. . .or did she? Would Roy have committed suicide anyway? Carter didn’t take any physical actions to directly cause Roy’s death except . . . the texts.
Omg! Her texts spread like wildfire and inflame social media. Carter repeatedly contacted Roy in the weeks leading up to his suicide. But it came out in court that she exhibited the same incessant texting with her schoolmates. Her high school friends testified that Carter’s texts were needy but never threatening or even unkind. Carter’s texts to Roy on the other hand were demanding and harsh. But messages between teenage friends can be crass. Some of Carter’s texts appear manipulative and downright devious. The prosecution referred to this in their description of Carter’s stream being, “I love you. Kill yourself.” What the judge will determine, are they legally reckless?
Whatever the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) rules will probably not be much, if any, comfort to Mrs. Roy. “Roy doesn’t know what she wants to have happen to Carter. She wants to see her held accountable for what Roy sees as bullying, but can’t say how. ”