PLAINVILLE (CBS) — Michelle Carter faced Judge Lawrence Moniz, instead of a jury, during opening statements of her involuntary manslaughter trial Tuesday morning. Carter is accused encouraging her friend, Conrad Roy, to commit suicide.
On Monday, the day jury selection was set to begin, Carter waived her right to a trial by jury.
Criminal defense attorney Patrick Donovan called the decision a “gutsy move.” He explained it was likely made because a judge could be less influenced by some of the appalling details of the case than a jury.
“A case like this could be so emotional that the emotions take over and it clouds the ruling of law,” Donovan said.
Roy’s mom, Lynn Roy, took the stand as the first witness. She answered questions about her divorce with Roy’s dad, hearing about Michelle Carter for the first time, Roy’s past girlfriends, and his struggles with sleeping problems and social anxiety.
“I knew he was a little depressed but I thought he was doing great. I mean, he just graduated from high school, got his captain’s license and I thought everything was moving forward not backward,” she said.
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Lynn also testified about the continued text messages of support Michelle Carter sent her following Roy’s death.
Fairhaven Police Officer David Correia was called to the stand to explain the search for Roy after he committed suicide.
In July, 2014, Roy was found dead in his pickup truck from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to police.
Prosecutors say that Carter, then 17-years-old, sent Roy dozens of text messages pressuring him to go through with his suicide attempt.
Carter’s defense argues that she got wrapped up in Roy’s plan and he would have committed suicide regardless.
One text message read in court showed that Carter wrote to Roy, “all you have to do is turn on the generator and you will be free and happy.”
An extensive report records Carter and Roy’s conversation about what generator to use and where to park his car.
“You’re so hesitant because you keep over thinking it and keep pushing it off. You just need to do it, Conrad,” Carter wrote in another text. “No more waiting.”
Prosecutors say Carter was on the phone with Roy for about 45 minutes while he inhaled carbon monoxide, but did not call 911.
The defense says Roy had been out to take his own life since a failed suicide attempt in 2012. Carter also had initially tried to reason Roy into getting professional help, according to the defense.