HBO Documentary 'I Love You, Now Die' Paints Haunting Portrait Of Teen Michelle Carter And Why She Texted Her Boyfriend To Kill Himself

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Who Is Michelle Carter? New Details On The Teen Who Texted Boyfriend To Kill Himself And The HBO Documentary About Her

It was a case that truly shocked the nation. A 17-year-old girl was on trial for manslaughter after she sent texts to her boyfriend urging him to kill himself.

Conrad Roy died of self-inflicted carbon monoxide poisoning in July 2014. In the weeks before his death, he and Michelle Carter exchanged dozens of texts where she encouraged him to find a way to follow through on his suicidal ideations. She shared stories about his depression and suicidal thoughts with girls she was trying to impress at school. Later, she told one of them that Roy had exited the car as it filled with the toxic gas and he had called her in fear. She said she ordered him back into the car to finish what he started.

In 2017, she was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the case but now her lawyers are taking her case to the Supreme Court, arguing that her conviction violated her free speech rights. In addition, HBO is airing a documentary about the case, giving audiences a chance to review the facts years after the events. Who is Michelle Carter?

What do we know about Michelle Carter? Read on for all the shocking details.

1. Friendship

Carter and Roy met one another on vacation in 2012 and kept up a friendship via text messages and Facebook over the next two years. The pair lived an hour apart in Massachusetts but they were seldom able to meet in person. Their text relationship is described in the New York Times as "intense." Roy was a troubled young man, who had evidently been abused and made several prior attempts to end his life.  In videos found on his computer after his death, he called himself a “minuscule little particle on the face of this earth” and “no-good trash.” He also called himself  “an abortion” and said his life was “a joke.” For weeks leading up to his death in 2014, Carter had tried to help her friend, suggesting that he should get help. In the final two weeks however, she changed her approach and started saying he should do whatever it took to kill himself.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ELC (@erinleecarr) on Jun 25, 2019 at 2:51pm PDT

The teens were in frequent contact via text.

2. Texts

As we reported in 2017, the text conversations were presented as evidence in Carter’s manslaughter trial. The prosecution argued that her words in the weeks before the suicide and during Roy’s final hours led him to end his life. The evidence they presented was damning.

On July 8, 2014 they had the following exchange:

Carter: "So are you sure you don't wanna [kill yourself] tonight?"

Roy: "What do you mean am I sure?"

Carter: "Like, are you definitely not doing it tonight?"

Roy: "Idk yet I'll let you know"

Carter: "Because I'll stay up with you if you wanna do it tonight"

Roy: " Another day wouldn't hurt"

Carter: "You can't keep pushing it off, tho, that's all you keep doing”

On July 11, 2014, they texted more:

Roy: "Idk I'm freaking out again ... I'm overthinking"

Carter: "I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you're ready, you just need to do it! You can't keep living this way. You just need to do it like you did last time and not think about it and just do it babe. You can't keep doing this every day"

Roy: "I do want to. but like I'm freaking for my family. I guess ... idkkk"

Carter: "Conrad. I told you I'll take care of them. Everyone will take care of them to make sure they won't be alone and people will help them get thru it. We talked about this, they will be okay and accept it. People who commit suicide don't think this much and they just do it”

And on July 12, 2014, the day Roy died, they had this conversation:

Carter: "Are you gonna do it now"

Roy: "I haven't left yet haha"

Carter: "Why ..."

Roy: "leavin now"

Carter: "Okay. You can do this"

Roy: "okay I'm almost there"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by D. Cook (@seamless78) on Jul 11, 2019 at 5:58am PDT

The texts led to a manslaughter charge.

RELATED: The 12 WORST Texts Sent By Michelle Carter That Led To A GUILTY Verdict For Texting Boyfriend To Commit Suicide

3. Mental illness

The New York Times reports that at trial, Carter’s lawyers presented a case that she herself was not emotionally strong and suffered from depression and body image issues that led to eating disorders. She had also talked about suicide in the past. Text messages presented her as a lonely teen who lamented her lack of friends and popularity and who used stories about Roy to garner attention and sympathy. While she referred to Roy as her boyfriend, there is no evidence to suggest that he felt that their relationship was romantic. Her legal team also contended that a recent change to her antidepressant prescription had set off delusions that led her to believe that encouraging Roy to kill himself was the best way she could help him.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Fox 5 NY (@fox5ny) on Jul 9, 2019 at 3:31pm PDT

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Michelle was deeply troubled.

4. Conviction

Carter opted for a bench trial, where a judge decided her fate without the input of a jury, as we noted in 2017.  After listening to the evidence in the case, the judge determined that Carter was guilty of involuntary manslaughter. In his statement about his decision he said: "Knowing that Mr. Roy is in the truck, knowing the condition of the truck, knowing, or at least having a state of mind, that 15 minutes would pass, Miss Carter takes no action in the furtherance of the duty that she has created by telling Mr. Roy to get back in the truck. She admits in a subsequent text that she did nothing. She did not call the police or Mr. Roy’s family…She did not notify his mother or his sister…She called no one. And finally, she did not issue a simple, additional instruction: get out of the truck.”

Carter was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Two Girls, One Murder (@twogirlspodcast) on Jul 9, 2019 at 1:50pm PDT

Lawyers are appealing the conviction on free speech grounds.

RELATED: 70-Year-Old LA Marathon Runner Dr. Frank Meza Commits Suicide After Being Accused Of Cheating For Better Race Time

5. Documentary

Erin Lee Carr, the director of the new film about the case, says she wanted to make the audience feel like they were participants in the trial. She told reporters: “We really wanted to present the case in a way that you became her jury." The film covers the court case, with part one detailing the prosecution’s case and part two taking the audience into the defense’s side of the trial.  

Carr says she knew the whole story was going to be more complicated than the media coverage or the trail lawyers portrayed it.  “There was this very simple story put forth that Michelle Carter was this good-looking ice queen that set about to kill a young man to become popular. I knew that that wasn't going to be correct, but it would ultimately be the narrative that was set forth by the prosecution,” Carr said.

She was also focused on one conversation that Carter allegedly had after Roy’s death, where she told another friend that he got out of the truck before the carbon monoxide was able to poison him and called her. She recounted that she told him to get back in the truck and complete the suicide. However, the conversation during he suicide wasn’t recorded and we only have texts Carter herself wrote about the conversation as evidence. Carr notes that "Michelle Carter has a lot of issues with deception with lying for attention. How are we to trust that one sentence that it actually happened?"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ELC (@erinleecarr) on Jul 10, 2019 at 1:49pm PDT

The documenary aired on HBO this week.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.