Woman in texting suicide case waives right to jury trial

TAUNTON, Mass. (WHDH/AP) – The Massachusetts woman charged with manslaughter for sending her boyfriend text messages encouraging him to kill himself has waived her right to a jury trial, opting to have a judge determine her fate.

Michelle Carter’s decision Monday as a judge was explaining her rights means the judge will hear the testimony and issue the verdict.

“We waived the jury. We’re going to be presenting the case just as I would with a jury and we’re optimistic with the outcome,” Carter’s lawyer Joseph Cataldo said.

The 20-year-old Carter, a Plainville native, is charged in the 2014 death of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III. Roy was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in his pickup truck in Fairhaven.

Prosecutors released transcripts of text messages the then-17-year-old Carter sent to Roy. In one, she allegedly wrote: “The time is right and you’re ready, you just need to do it!”

In another text to a friend after Roy’s death, Carter allegedly wrote: “I could have stopped it. I was the one on the phone with him and he got out of the car because the carbon monoxide was working and he got scared. I (expletive) told him to get back in.”

Cataldo has argued that the texts are protected free speech. He’s also said Roy was depressed and previously tried to take his own life.

Opening statements in the case are slated for Tuesday morning.

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