Murdered Her Ex Boyfriend Through Text? The Case of Conrad Roy III.
A seemingly harmless long distance relationship turns dark fast.
Trigger Warning: This story contains details of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders as well as details about suicide and suicide ideation.
If you or someone you know is at risk of harming themselves, reach out to 1–800–273–8255 (U.S.) You’re not alone.
Conrad Henry Roy III was someone that anyone struggling with a mental illness can easily sympathize with. He was born on September 12, 1995 in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts and grew up with two younger sisters and his parents.
Conrad was known to be your typical well rounded teenager. From the outside looking in, he was an honor student who loved to play baseball. Outside of school, he worked with his father and grandfather for their tugboat company and Conrad was in the process of getting his Captain’s license.
In 2014, Conrad graduated high school with a 3.88 GPA and was given a scholarship to study business at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. However, he decided to not go down the path of pursuing college and continue working in his family’s tugboat business.
Conrad’s Mental Health History
Conrad had a huge setback in his adolescence in 2011 when his parents filed for divorce. Since he was in such a trivial time in his life, this took a huge toll on Conrad mentally and emotionally. Eventually, Conrad was diagnosed with depression and social anxiety and struggled these conditions immensely throughout his high school career.
When it came to treatment, Conrad’s mom used to work is psychiatric care so she thought she had a good grasp of what medications would work best to treat him. He was prescribed an antidepressant and started seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist. However, this didn’t seem to be enough to suffice at one point because prior to his case, he attempted to commit suicide by overdosing on acetaminophen.
In addition, Conrad also recorded videos of himself in the form of “video dairies” where he would talk about all of the thoughts running through his mind and how he was feeling.
Who is Michelle Carter?
Michelle Carter was born on August 11, 1996 in Plainville, Massachusetts to her parents named Gail and David Carter. Similar to Conrad, she too struggled with her own mental health.
From a young age of around 8, Michelle started developing an eating disorder and lead to a rough cycle of harming herself through cutting. By the age of 14, she was on psychiatric medication and attended counseling.
In her teen years, she attended King Phillip Regional High School and was also a softball player. Many of her peers and friends described her to be a relatively nice girl, but was definitely someone who made her relationships with others very high maintenance. Michelle tended to be insecure in her friendships and relationships so she typically needed extra attention.
Roy and Carter’s Relationship
Conrad and Michelle met each other in 2012 while they were both in Florida visiting their families. Even though they were both from the Massachusetts suburbs, they lived in two different areas and lived approximately 35 miles apart from each other. Due to this distance, they started dating but only got a chance to see the other person a handful of times. Therefore, a lot of their communication was done through texting and emails.
A lot of the conversations the couple shared were related to their mental health experiences. They felt as if they were able to confide in each other about their feelings because they knew the other person would understand.
Going further into their conversations about their mental health, a common topic Conrad brought up was during his two years of talking to Michelle, he always expressed to her that he wanted to attempt suicide again. For a while, Michelle constantly encourage Conrad to keep powering through and that he would “find the light one day”.
Michelle strongly encouraged to seek professional help in early 2014. This was due to the fact that she went to a rehabilitation center for her eating disorder and thought it would be a great help for Conrad as well. Around this same time, Michelle is also put on a new medication for her depression and anxiety.
With any new medication, you don’t know your personal side effects with it until you take it and that was Michelle’s perspective on this medication.
Conrad Roy’s Death
On July 12, 2014, Michelle messages Conrad’s sister asking if she knew where her brother was and she was concerned.
The day leading up to that night, Conrad, his mother, and his sisters all went to the beach together and had chips and guacamole. According to his family, they though Conrad was doing a lot better mentally and was in a better mood. Once they got home, Conrad told his mother he was having dinner at a friend’s house. When he drove off, that was the last time his family would ever see him.
After Conrad left his house, he drove to the back of a Kmart parking lot and committed suicide by turning on a water pump that filled the inside of his truck with carbon monoxide. His family called the police and he was found in the early morning of July 13th where he died.
Once the family found out what happened to Conrad, Michelle sent a text message to Conrad’s mother saying “I’m so very sorry, Conrad meant so much to me”.
Michelle’s Reaction to Conrad’s Suicide
At Conrad’s funeral and services, Michelle started acting a little out of the ordinary in front of the public. For starters, Michelle stood in the line with all of his grieving relatives and managed to work her wait to one of the front spots. On top of that, witnesses claim she was at the funeral hysterically sobbing to the point where it seems over the top. Michelle started to act in a way that was clearly to seek extra attention and sympathy.
A second red flag that Conrad’s family caught on to was Michelle was trying to form a relationship with Conrad’s family. She consistently reminded his mom and sisters that Conrad “would want them to stay strong”. She even asked his family if she could have some of his ashes and possibly take some of his belongings.
Another way Michelle responded to her grievances is by putting on an event called “Homer’s for Conrad”. Michelle created a Facebook page to raise awareness for the event and it was geared to be a fundraiser where the donations went to the Roy family and suicide prevention.
What made Homers for Conrad look like it was another case of her seeking attention is she held the event in her hometown instead of his. In my opinion, if you were putting on a suicide prevention fundraiser for your significant other who committed suicide and raising money for their family, wouldn’t you host it in his hometown?
She expressed to one of her close friends after putting together the Facebook page (which no longer exists) for the Homers for Conrad event, she told one of her friends she felt “famous”.
The Investigations, Trials, and Michelle’s True Intentions
Shortly after spreading the word about the Homers for Conrad, many police officers wanted to rule out Conrad’s death as a self inflicted suicide and leave it at that. However, not long after Michelle started acting slightly bizarre a detective wanted to go through Conrad’s text messages on his phone.
Once the detective began to read through Michelle’s text messages, their conversations at the beginning of their relationship seems to be up lifting. Michelle was constantly encouraging Conrad to seek mental health help and not commit suicide. But as the investigators kept reading through their messages, they started to see her flip a switch.
The detectives began to see messages like “You’re overthinking” and “Are you gonna do it now?”. Many of messages started to turn into Michelle belittling and even encouraging Conrad to commit suicide. After finding the dark text messages, detectives Scott Gordon and Glenn Cudmore reached out to the District Attorney’s office to talk about the messages they found. Not long after, they traveled to Michelle’s high school in Wrentham, Massachusetts to interview her.
During Michelle’s interview, she claims she was on the phone with Conrad the day of his death. But, the phone call suddenly ended and she didn’t think anything was going to come out of it so she ignored the cancelled call.
Detectives after the interview received a search warrant for Michelle’s phone and extracted all of the data and information stored on it. After downloading the data, they were able to read through thousands of text messages, voicemails, call logs, Facebook chats, and video calls involving Conrad alone.
Gordon and Cudmore each brought home their own copies of the data and they claimed they each read through 1000 text messages.
“We each grabbed a copy of it and went home that night and read about a thousand text messages each. And we came back the next morning and I still remember that we looked at each other and I don’t know if I said it first or he said it first, but it was ‘If it wasn’t for her he’s alive today’.” — Cudmore
After the detectives discovered that Conrad’s suicide wasn’t coincidental, a grand jury returned a formal indictment for involuntary manslaughter on February 5, 2015. The jurors presented that Michelle Carter was guilty of involuntary manslaughter “by wanton and reckless conduct” which then caused the death of Conrad.
They also presented that this was “punishable by imprisonment”. But on February 6, Michelle was booked and released on bail. Leading up to and at the trial, there was a huge incline in news coverage on Conrad’s death. As it turns out, many of the texts messages Michelle sent to Conrad involved her pressuring Conrad into committing suicide. Day and night she would constantly pressure, intimidate, and bully him into finally doing it.
It doesn’t end there.
Before Conrad died, there was a point while he was in his truck that he actually got out and texted Michelle. According to messages that Michelle sent to her close friend Sam, Conrad got out of the truck because he got scared that the carbon monoxide intoxication was working. And Michelle “fucken told him to get back in”.
While Michelle’s defense lawyers argued that “encouraging suicide” isn’t a crime, the Massachusetts Supreme Court firmly believed this was a case of involuntary manslaughter. Michelle consistently asked Conrad when he was going to kill himself, why he hasn’t killed himself yet, and how was he going to kill himself.
“Why don’t you just drink bleach”
“Hang yourself, jump off a building, stab yourself idk there’s lots of ways”
Furthermore, Michelle’s lawyers thought this was going to have a “chilling effect on free speech rights” and whether or not it’s okay to “openly discuss suicide and encourage it between loved ones”. However, the Supreme Court decided to uphold the indictment of involuntary manslaughter and Michelle was going to have to go into a trial.
On June 5, 2017, Michelle Carter went to the Taunton Juvenile Court for her official trial. But to many people’s surprise, Michelle decided to forgo having a jury at her trial. The defense most likely thought Michelle would receive a less severe sentence if it’s the judge deciphering her actions as legal or not rather than if it was ordinary people looking at it from a moral standpoint.
However, the judge believed this was reckless conduct and Michelle was guilty of involuntary manslaughter. She was sentenced to two and a half years in jail but ultimately only had to serve for 15 months. The rest was suspended and she had five years of probation following her release.
She served her sentence at the Bristol County Correction Center, but was released early on January 23, 2020 for good behavior and conduct.
Why Did This Happen?
The Commonwealth’s attorney argued that Michelle knew exactly what she was doing when she told Conrad to get back in the truck. Ultimately, it seems she wanted Conrad to die not because she wanted him gone, but she wanted the attention and social gratifications that can come with it.
At Michelle’s trial, there were a few girls from Michelle’s school that spoke for the Commonwealth. And a common thread between all of the witnesses was that they were friendly with Michelle in school, they never hung out with outside of school. Michelle also expressed to all of these witnesses at one point or another that she felt as if she didn’t have any friends.
Everything following Conrad’s death was all a part of a bigger plan Michelle had. Forming relationships with his family, putting on Homers for Conrad, suddenly having all of these girls hang out with her whenever she needs was all a part of her plan to get the attention she wasn’t receiving and thought she deserved.
She is the perfect combination of the two worst traits about certain teenage girls; she’s manipulative and she wanted to be popular. She manipulated a guy to kill himself so she could then become popular.
Michelle struggled with mental illness, so there’s no doubt this is a factor in all of this. But ultimately, she wanted sympathy and popularity.
There’s truly no other way to describe this case except for unique. The national coverage of Michelle’s prosecution and trial sparked the conversation of whether this is actually a crime, or if it falls between the cracks of the legal system. As Americans we do have the First Amendment which is the right free speech, but at what point does free speech cross the line?
If Conrad hadn’t met Michelle, he could still be alive today. We’ll never know for sure, but this case and her talent of manipulation leaves us with that thought in the back of our heads after we walk away.