I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth vs Michelle Carter
On 13 July 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy committed suicide by gassing himself in his pickup truck. Months later, his self-styled girlfriend, Michelle Carter (17 at the time of the incident), was arrested for encouraging him to take his own life through hundreds of texts sent in the months before he died.
An example of their text exchange:
Conrad: Like, why am I so hesitant lately. Like two weeks ago I was willing to try everything and now I’m worse, really bad, and I’m LOL not following through. It’s eating me inside.
Michelle: You’re so hesitant because you keeping over thinking it and keep pushing it off. You just need to do it, Conrad. The more you push it off, the more it will eat at you. You’re ready and prepared. All you have to do is turn the generator on and you will be free and happy. No more pushing it off. No more waiting.
The pair met on holiday, and had communicated almost entirely via text and social media. As police combed through their communication, a chilling picture emerged – she had repeatedly tried to convince Conrad to go through with his plans to commit suicide. What clinched her conviction, however, was the fact that Michelle admitted to telling Conrad to get back in his truck when he wavered, an instruction that resulted in his death.
In February this year, Michelle’s conviction for involuntary manslaughter was upheld, and as the HBO documentary about the case airs, she has announced that she’s taking her appeal to the Supreme Court. Her lawyers argue that her text messages constitute free speech, protected by the Constitution.
The case has made waves around the world, promising to change laws across the US and beyond.
The documentary delves into the story, examining not only the facts of the case but also asking deeper questions: Can someone be held responsible for another person’s suicide? How did the mental health problems of both teens contribute to the tragedy? Could the medication each was taking actually have made things worse?
The film is directed by Erin Lee Carr, who was also behind HBO’s Mommy Dead and Dearest. That documentary followed the story of Gypsy Blanchard, a teen who instructed her online lover to murder her mother after years of abuse.