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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  August 20, 2022 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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i'm craig melvin. and i'm natalie morales. them >> and this is dateline. >> i believe that he's an old soul. a beautiful soul. i know he's my son, but he was the kind of person i ever met. he was definitely god's gift to me. -- >> a beloved teenage boy who disappeared. >> i have to report my son missing. >> -- caution tape around it, the police -- that he was gone. >> listen, are you sure? what are you talking about? >> weaving alongside his family, his girlfriend. >> she sent messages of condolences, we all need to be
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strong together. she gave me a lot of support, just there for me, when i needed her. >> but was there something about these two that no one knew? >> what are you seeing? >> a series of messages. >> i had to read them a couple of times to take it all in. >> really shocking. >> a trail of text messages, leading to the darkest of discoveries. >> keeping all the lies straight is difficult. she did it masterfully. >> -- >> i close my eyes and said, this is not real. >> a twist no one saw coming. and a story that every parent needs to see. >> we need to know what is going on in our kid's lives, because it can be very scary when we don't. >> hello and welcome to "dateline". 18-year-old conrad roy battled depression and anxiety, but seemed to be finding his way. he was headed to college and excited about his new job. then one night, the teenager vanished.
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turns out conrad had a dark secret, one he shared with someone close to him. what that confidant did and did not do next would shatter to families. here is andrea canning with reckless. it began as a chance encounter between two teens on vacation. >> she was a family friend, that he met in florida. >> and ended two years later with one of them dead -- >> he was smiling before he left the house. and then he was dead a few hours after. >> an apparent suicide -- >> he didn't see like seem like he wasn't any independent in the mid -- >> teens do all the time, texting. they are cyber ronettes hit a nerve, gripping the nation. and the people involved in the case gave us the inside story. the detectives who investigated the case -- >> you are watching her. >> yes. and it just keeps getting worse. >> a grieving father -- >> i feel like i can fix a lot of things.
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but i just couldn't fix my son. >> and distraught family members who feel betrayed -- >> i kind of just said no. >> hi, this is conrad henry roy the third. >> our story starts with conrad. his mother says he was an easy child. >> what kind of kid was he? >> definitely sensitive, never gave me a hard time with anything. did well in school, had friends, loved baseball. >> conrad was her first born. two daughters would come later. looking back, she remembers his early years as good ones. >> every picture i have of him, he looks like a little goofball. the happiest child. he was always happy. >> conrad grew up in and around the old fishing town of new bedford, massachusetts, where his father and grandfather won a tugboat and barge business. his dad says it scenes conrad was destined to take to the sea from day one. >> -- two or three days old, my dad brought him on the tugboat. i just wanted to have him follow in my footsteps. i was hoping --
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[inaudible] take over the business someday. >> not only was conrad the first born in the royal family, he was also the first grandchild. >> his aunt, chrissy roy, says his cousins adored him. >> my youngest said henry would follow him around like a duck. he was the cousin all the kids looked up to. >> but during his sophomore year in high school, his mom says her happy-go-lucky son started to change. >> his father and i, we got divorced -- and i don't know one child that doesn't get affected by a divorce. >> he was 16 at the time? >> and it's going through the hormones and he obviously had anxiety and depression -- he just manifested at that time. >> he talked about it in this video diary. >> i feel like i'm differently wired from everyone else. like there's something wrong with me. >> it was at 16, well struggling with anxiety and depression, that conrad encountered a 15 year old girl named michelle carter.
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they met conrad's grandmother says, when conrad and his sisters went to florida to visit family. >> and this was just supposed to be some our and our? >> yes. a week during school vacation -- >> her grandparents were friends with our great aunt. >> -- my sister came in and was like, hey, my -- mental. girl -- a short while. >> when they return from florida, conrad and michelle continued to stay in touch through text messages. michelle lived in plainville, massachusetts, about an hour away from conrad. achuthe two had a lot in common. she was a softball player. he played baseball. friends described both of them as quiet and funny, but even though the two communicated regularly, conrad and becky says he never mentioned michelle. >> he had other girlfriends where you knew their names and you had met them. she was not someone that he talked about. apparently, he kept a lot to himself. by the time he was 17, he had checked into psychiatric facilities a few times,
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suffering from deep depression. his mom says, one time, on the day he was discharged, he attempted suicide by swallowing a bottle of cough syrup. >> he felt bad. and i said, conrad, you have no idea how much you are loved and appreciated. so, he swore at that time after that, he would never attempt suicide again. >> and things did seem to be getting better. a year later, by june, 2014, conrad had graduated from high school, gotten a scholarship to college and earned his captain's license. >> that must have been a really big day. conrad getting his captain's license. >> it was, i was very proud of him. >> are you feeling good about the place he is in? >> i felt that he was still struggling. but i felt very positive that he was not going to do anything to harm himself. it was right around this time
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when conrad recorded that private video sharing his innermost thoughts. >> i feel like i still have a long way to go to recover from the social anxieties, this feeling of insecurity. but if i keep talking, keep talking, it's going to get better. >> on july 12th, conrad headed to the beach with his mom and two sisters. lynn vividly remembers walking the shoreline with her son. he seemed in good spirits that day. >> we talked about school, and he was like, i'm not sure where i am right now in my head. i said, well, you just got your captain's license, you don't have to worry about anything right now. >> he is looking toward the future? >> yeah. >> when they return the beach, conrad drove his sisters to get ice cream. >> he was laughing and i said something and he was, like, smiling. >> conrad told his mom he was going to his friend's house and would not be back for dinner. but later that night, lynn said out of the blue, her daughter got a text message from someone quite unexpected.
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>> it was around 10:30 that night, michelle carter is asking where conrad is. and they are boyfriend and girlfriend now. >> this was news to lynn. she knew conrad and michelle had only seen each other in person a few times. the next morning, lynn woke up at 5:00 a. m., and noticed conrad was not home. she called around and drove by his friend's house but could not find him. conrad was missing. >> a son disappears, a mom worries, and a dad receives a troubling clue. >> coming up. >> a family friend said they saw the truck with caption take around it. >> the news is about to go from bad to worse. >> i said, are you sure, what are you talking about? >> when dateline continues -- n dateline continues - oh, man.
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roy iii was missing. his family and friends, growing more frantic by the hour, searched everywhere for him. by mid morning, his mom decided to call 9-1-1. -- >> police, for courted line. >> i, i have to report my son missing. >> that evening, after 24 hours after conrad left his house, his father got a call. >> a family friend they saw his
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truck with caution tape around it. >> so you go out there to k mark -- >> yeah, i tell the police, that i'm the father, they told me he was gone. >> an officer found conrad dead behind the wheel of his pick up truck. he's dad called lynn to tell her the awful news. i couldn't even see, i felt like i was drugged. i couldn't -- i couldn't eat, slept in the same clothes for days. >> the most horrible time in my life. >> the rest of conrad's family was in disbelief. >> i said, are you sure, what are you talking about? i just saw him. it just felt like all the blood is strained out of your body, to hear that kind of news. >> detective scoffed gordon of the fair haven police department was assigned to the case. his first impression was suicide by carbon monoxide. >> it was apparent that he placed a water pump in the rear of his truck and eventually he passed away as a result of the carbon monoxide.
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from that. >> to those who knew conrad best, it didn't make sense. had they missed something? >> conrad had been getting help, taking medication, and seemed hopeful about his future. his grandmother remembered him using that very pump to help out his dad just days before. >> i can still see that smile on his face, just that little's murky smile that he always had. >> and his father recalled the two of them working on the job together a week earlier, something up fireworks on a barge. >> we were laughing, watching fireworks. he seemed kind fine. the last thing i said to him was, i love you. he said, i love you back. >> so he's family wondered what pushed him over the edge, and as they struggled with their grief, they got comfort from a surprising source. michelle carter. she reached out to limb through text messages, consoling her, saying conrad loved her very much. >> did you feel like you are getting support? or just a connection to conrad
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somehow? >> absolutely. i told her i loved her, she told me so many great things about myself that she has had. she was just there for me when i needed her. >> conrad's aunts also remember getting messages from the show this michelle. -- >> she never tried so hard in her life to save someone. and that she wishes she could have saved him. and at the week, she came through and introduced herself. >> i was a little shocked, though, when ice she said, i'm conrad's girlfriend. i had no idea. i never heard of her name. >> among hundreds things were good by letters he had written to different people, like this one, to michelle. >> it was very positive. keep doing what you are doing, michele, keep moving on and doing great things. >> after reading this letter, you must of thought, oh, conrad and michelle really had a special friendship, that he wrote or this letter -- >> i was very happy that she was in his life. i think her for being there for him. >> just weeks after conrad died,
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michelle contacted his family saying she wanted to raise awareness for suicide prevention by organizing a baseball tournament, homers for conrad. >> -- i was thinking, wow, here is a teenager, a high school senior. and she's only a month later, starting to plan this large fund-raiser. >> conrad's whole family showed up. his aunt chrissy was impressed with michelle, then just 17. >> i went up to her parents at that fund-raiser and i said, you must be so proud of your daughter. she is quite an amazing girl. unbeknownst to the family, that can fair haven, detective gordon was digging around for answers, hoping to discover why conrad might have taken his own life. >> i just found it odd that an 18 year old would do it in that manner. >> the detective figured they were clues on conrad's cell phone, which was found in his truck. and sure enough, when he-powered it up, he discovered a string of text messages left on the phone from just one person. >> and that was --
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michelle carter. >> he deleted all of the text conversations with other people? >> correct. >> and when the detective started reading the texts, he could not believe what he was seeing. >> it was one of those things where you keep reading and it jessie keeps getting worse. and that what was kind of putting everything in motion. >> coming up -- the text messages no one could fathom. >> i had to read them a couple of times to really sort of take it all in. >> words that raised a disturbing question -- with this is suicide, or something else? >> i closed my eyes and said, this is not real. >> when dateline continues -- hen dateline continues -
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conrad roy's family was reeling from his apparent suicide. the teenager left goodbye letters, including one to michelle carter. now investigators were focused on other messages that the teen shared. and what they uncovered would
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turn the case on its head. once again, here is andrea canning with reckless. >> two days after conrad roy's death, detective scott gordon of the fair haven police department have found a clue. and it was a bombshell. a string of text messages from shell carter on conrad's phone -- >> what are you seeing? >> it was a series of messages that seem to be encouraging him to take his own life. >> encouraging him to take his own life? to the detective, it was unimaginable. he learned michelle and conrad had been texting, like teenagers do, for almost two years. but if you weeks before his death, something changed. it seemed michel started a campaign to get conrad to get to commit suicide. she even gave him suggestions on how to do it -- hang yourself, jump off a building, stab yourself. i don't know, there is a lot of ways. gordon's partner, detective
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glenn cobb more also worked the case. >> i remember when he was looking at, something to be effective, i can't believe what i am reading >> -- >> you disappointed me. >> i will take care of your family. >> the detectives poured over thousands of text messages and the more they read, the more disturbed they became. like this exchange in the early morning hours before conrad died -- you can't think about it, you just have to do it. you said you are gonna do it. like, i don't get why you aren't. >> conrad responded, i don't get it either. i don't know. carter typed back, so, i guess you aren't going to do with then, all that for nothing. i'm just confused. like, you are so ready and determined. >> conrad wrote back. i am going to eventually. i really don't know what i am waiting for. but i have everything lined up. and this one, on the morning of his death -- okay, i'm gonna do it today. >> do you promise?
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>> i promise, babe. i have to now -- >> like right now,? >> and you can break a promise and just go in quiet parking lot or something. >> have you ever seen anything like that in your career as a detective? >> no. >> no. >> it was clear to the detectives that conrad had died by his own hand. but was what michel did actually a crime? detective gordon contacted assistant da mary claire flynn. >> he said, i want to send you these text messages, if you can please just take a look at them. i said, sure i will. and it was just utterly shocking. >> she checked with katie rayburn, her colleague at the time, and they agreed, those text messages warranted further investigation. >> i could not believe what was in them. i had to read them a couple of times to really take it all in. >> clearly, it's black and white for you, that you know this is wrong. but is it black and white, we are going to go forward with this? this is a crime? i would imagine for you, it's complicated. >> yes.
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and with all investigations, it is our duty and responsibility to follow the evidence where it takes us. and so, the evidence was taking us to michelle carter. >> so, the commonwealth office told detectives to keep digging and find out more about michelle carter. >> first reaction when you see her picture? >> she is young. she is just a kid. and the words that she was saying, in her text messages -- it just didn't seem feasible. >> during the investigation, detective cudmore went undercover at that fund-raiser homers for conrad. he secretly took photos of michelle's every move, to confirm she was the one who sent those texts, he went one step further. he videotaped michelle once he dial the number he got from conrad's phone. >> you are watching her answering the phone? >> yes, yes. >> that is a good sign. >> yes, we had the right person. >> did you just hang up? >> let it stay on for a few seconds, muted. -- i remember calling scott,
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saying, are we sure we have the right girl. she just seems so normal. >> a few months later, as the investigation continued, detective gordon decided to pay michel carter a visit. he found her after school and approached her. >> michelle, the reason we came out here is because -- we were looking into conrad's unfortunate passing, all right? >> and she has no idea? she has been watched? >> she has no idea. >> did she look surprised? >> a little bit. but at that point, i don't think she understood, really, what we had. and where we were going with it. >> at first, michelle told the detective she tried to talk conrad out of suicide. >> how did you help him to try and see that suicide wasn't the right thing to do? >> well, i told him a lot of things. i told him that i loved him. i told him that a lot of people loved him. >> yeah. >> and, how, like without him, nothing would be the same -- i had personal issues that i got help for. and i told him that he should
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come with me and get the help that he needed but he refused. he said that no one would be able to help him and it would make him worse if he got help. >> then, the detective asked her about having contact with conrad on the day he died. >> did you have contact with him? that day >> i don't think so. >> yeah? >> the detective knew that was a lie. >> we have a search warrant for your phone, okay? so we will be taking it. >> we, so you are taking my phone? >> yes. >> when we took her phone, i think she started to understand a little bit. that we were looking a little bit more further into it than she expected. >> he followed her home and says michelle's parents were very cooperative. >> they provided us with everything we needed. and that day we left with her cell phone and her laptop. >> michelle has to know what is going on. but your parents, they totally in the dark? >> i believe, so absolutely. >> after going through all the
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evidence, including michele's phone and computer, prosecutors were convinced that michele was criminally responsible for conrad's death. >> words can harm. and you don't have the ability to just say your words aren't criminal. because they are protected by free speech. and there is precedent for people that have encouraged others to commit suicide to be charged with involuntary manslaughter. >> what is the law, here in the state, and how did guide you? >> the charge of involuntary manslaughter, involves wanton reckless conduct, that she could've cause someone's death and did cause someone's death. >> in other words, the prosecution believed michelle should have known that encouraging conrad to kill himself could result in him dying. prosecutors now had the difficult task of telling conrad's family what they had uncovered. >> it was just unbelievable. i just kept thinking, she's holding his head underwater. you could tell that he did not want to die. her message is overpowered him. >> i close my eyes and said, this is not real.
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how can someone have an involvement in someone's death it? knowingly encouraged? >> did you just feel like you had been duped? she has been consoling you this whole time. >> i am a very forgiving person. and the only thing i can say about the way that she was with me is that, she is just really, really not well. >> the grand jury indicted michelle for involuntary manslaughter. she pleaded not guilty. that is when the world heard the story for the first time and the debate began. which conrad's death a suicide or a homicide? >> coming up, a jaw-dropping theory about motive. >> why would she do this? >> she wanted the attention. >> and at trial, michel makes a stunning decision. >> doing -- that voluntarily? >> yes. >> it's a choice that she will
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natalie morales. michelle carter had been arrested and charged with the death of conrad roy. the evidence was chilling text messages that michele sent conrad who struggled with depression, urging him to kill himself. now the case was headed to trial, but could prosecutors prove what she had done was a crime? once again, here is andrea canning with reckless. >> michelle carter was facing involuntary manslaughter charges for doing something teenagers do all the time -- texting and calling each other. and the world was watching. prosecutors mary claire flynn and katie rayburn understood why. >> this affects everybody. adults, teenagers -- even parents with kids who don't even have phones yet. >> absolutely.
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i think it's good to be thinking about what you are putting out there in the world. because when she said it, you cannot take it back. >> turn the gears. >> prosecutors believed michelle's words and actions caused a vulnerable conrad to kill himself. he described his fragile state in that video diary. >> -- racing thoughts, suicidal thoughts. flashbacks of hard times. >> and prosecutors learn michelle did more than sent text messages to conrad. as deadly carbon monoxide fill the cab of his truck, we shall was talking to him on the phone. hall was >> there were two phone cals after the last text message. one from him to her -- 41 minutes. and then one from her to him for over 42 minutes. >> but how would they ever know what we said on those calls? >> detectives poured over thousands of text messages. and they got their answer. >> lo and behold, on her phone,
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there was text messages to her friends, describing with that phone conversation was like. >> the detective says a message that michele center friend described it all. sam, his death is my fault, like, honestly -- i could've stopped him and i was on the phone and he got out of the car because it was working and he got scared, and i told him to get back in. >> as much as we were in shock about your language part of that, once we read that, that was really disturbing. prosecutor flynn says a another text message to that friend made it clear that michele knew what she done was wrong. >> she said, sam, i just found out from his mother that the detectives had some of his things and are going through them, to see if anybody texted him or encouraged him. if they read my text messages him, and i'm done, his family will hate me and i could go to jail. >> and that's what was at stake on june 5th, 2017, almost three years after conrad roy's death. but the bristol county
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courthouse in taunton, massachusetts, michelle carter went on trial. >> [inaudible] >> the drama began almost immediately. instead of having the case go before a jury, michelle, at the last minute, chose to let the judge decide her fate. >> are you doing that of your own freewill, knowingly and voluntarily? >> yes. >> in her opening statement, glenn drew a straight line from michelle carter's badgering and bullying to conrad's death in the truck that night. >> she assisted and advised and advise and planned his suicide. she resent him out of his reservations. she told him that once he was that he would be free and happy. >> he kept saying that her, i don't want to do, this it would hurt my family. and she kept saying, don't worry about them. all the fears he brought up, she had a reason to go around them and convince him that those things were not real. >> there are people who are going to say, everyone is responsible for themselves. he made that decision to do
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that. >> i think personal responsibility something that is very important. that being said, it was clear from the text messages, especially he's her text messages to sam boredom in, we are she told him to get back in the car, that he didn't want to do it. >> the commonwealth puts them sam boredom and on the stand, to me that text messages. and another one in which michel described listening to conrad dime. >> sam, he just called me, and it was a loud noise, like a motor, and i heard moaning like someone was in pain, and he wouldn't answer when i said his name. i stayed on the phone for 20 minutes and that's all i heard. i think he just killed himself. >> but as the trial continued, there was a nagging question -- >> why would she do this? >> she wanted the attention. when her friends were not hanging out with her or not spending time with her, she would say things and do things to try to get their attention. she wanted them to be friends with her. >> it was a shocking theory. prosecutors were basically saying michelle convinced
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conrad to kill himself, so she could be popular. >> -- by being the grieving girlfriend. they pointed out a text exchange she had with conrad shortly before he died. >> she says, am i your girlfriend? and he talks about something else, and she goes, no, i need you need to know, to tell people. so, i think she wanted confirmation, the label, before he died. >> a day before his death, prosecutors say michele test about her plan of being the grieving girlfriend. she texted sam boardman. i'm losing hope, i think he really did it -- even though she knew conrad was alive. three minutes later, she texted conrad -- the generator will work 100% and quick. i don't get why you just don't use that. >> she's telling her friends that he's missing, he might have committed suicide, when she knows exactly where she is he is. -- that he should write her a suicide letter, and that his last tweet should be to her, because she wanted to get a
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shout out from him. >> yes. >> the commonwealth also claimed michel tried to cover her tracks by sending conrad text messages after she knew he was dead. after like this one, the day afr his suicide. >> did you do something? conrad, i love you so much. please tell me this is a joke. and she continued sending techs to his phone for months -- nearly 80 of them. the prosecution argued she deliberately sent the text as a way to change her story. at the time, i went along with it, because i knew we weren't going to do anything. but you bleep did it and i'm so sorry i didn't save you. it was agonizing for conrad's family to sit in the courtroom in here these new details. >> it was pretty shocking. a lot of times it doesn't seem real. >> do you believe in your heart that it was criminal, what she did? >> i do. for someone that is in that fragile state, and then you persuade them in the worst way possible, yeah, it definitely
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is criminal. >> social anxiety to me -- >> lynn says her son's own words, a month before he died, show he wanted to live. >> i want to recover from this, and i feel like i haven't recovered from it yet. i do have a lot going for me. i just got a job, i'm the [inaudible] captain about. that is a huge accomplishment. >> reporter: but there was another side to the story -- michel's. and her lawyer was certain the law was on her side. >> it is a tragedy. it is horrible. but it is just not criminal. >> the defense digs into text messages that the prosecution did not share in court. was michelle really trying to prevent conrad suicide? >> coming up -- >> go to mclain hospital. they will help you. michelle carter was trying to talk him out of it. >> a very different take on michelle -- >> michelle, for a year and a half, tried to persuade him not
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♪ ♪ it's electric... made extraordinary. ingenuity... in motion. it listens, learns, adapts and anticipates your every need. with intelligence... that feels anything but artificial. the eqs from mercedes-benz. it's the car electric has been waiting for. >> welcome back, michelle carter was on trial for involuntary manslaughter. prosecutors portrayed her as a calculating bully pressured a vulnerable conrad roy into killing himself because she craved attention. but the defense team was about to counter, contending that
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michelle we know callous killer. she was a victim. continuing with reckless, here is andrea canning. it >> reporter: wasn't easy for -- described as a monster. to him, michelle was anything but. who >> is the michele you knew? >> she was a quiet kid, helpful, very friendly, got along with everybody. but everybody seemed to get along with her. a class superlative was the kid most likely to brighten her day. >> and it was her softball coach. he had no the family for years. >> with these the parents that came to every game? >> yeah, there would always be somebody at the game. if you needed somebody to do something, you didn't have to ask them twice, if he needed help with anything. he >> has been supportive of michelle and her family and was outraged she was ever charged. >> it's a tragedy. travesty. she wasn't there -- and we've gone down a slippery slope here if someone, on the
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phone, talking about coming suicide, can be held to involuntary manslaughter. >> michele's attorney agrees it's a slippery slope. he thinks the commonwealth made a mistake. >> this is an overreach of the prosecution. and from day one, until this day, i said, yeah, i don't think a crime was committed. >> last use has has low massachusetts has no law against -- >> that was the basis of his whole argument. prosecutors misinterpreting massachusetts law. to him, this was clearly a suicide. that's why he wanted to judge, not a jury, to hear the case. >> i thought the judge would apply the correct law on the facts that conroy it was just so suicidal that michelle carter did not cause his death. >> and that's how he began his opening statement. >> michelle carter was not present. michelle carter had been texting with him. she did not physically see this individual for over one year. >> and to bolster his case, michelle's lawyer introduced a
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set of text messages that the prosecution had not mentioned. ones where she tried repeatedly to help conrad, have you thought about getting professional help? like, i think i'm gonna go away to a place for my eating disorder to help me overcome it and stuff. >> where are you going? >> it's called mclean hospital, in belmont, massachusetts. i honestly think it would be so good for you and we would get through our issues together. >> michelle carter was trying to talk him out of it. go to maclean hospital. they will help you. she had nothing but resistance from conrad roy. >> one of the main points of your argument was that conrad roy had tried it before. he hide researched various ways to take his own life. that this was not something that was just created by michelle carter. >> right. michelle for a year and a half always tried to persuade him not to commit suicide. he always rejected her thoughts of staying alive. and
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it was not until literally the last two weeks of his life where michelle finally endorsed his plan. >> i think that's where people have the biggest problem with this case. it's, why? why would she encourage? him and she is supposed to be his friend. >> well, she came to the realizization that he did not want to live anymore. and his words were, i will only hate you if you tell somebody about my plan. while the prosecution michelle carter as an attention seeker, the defense portrayed her as a victim was taking antidepressants for her own mental health issues and was in no shape to help a suicidal friend. >> the facts will show that michelle carter is going through her own struggles. >> he was mamba artist by his suicidal thinking. so, you take that, and then you mix in her own issues, that she was struggling with, eating disorder, and eventually being diagnosed with a major depressive disorder herself -- the >> reporter: defense called
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an expert witness. psychiatry east you dr. peter bregman to the stand. -- he debt he testified that the anti depressant michelle was taking impaired her judgment. >> [inaudible] and mixed in a real delusion, where she is thinking that it is a good thing to help him die. >> break-in also testified that he believes conrad was in control of the relationship and that he used the vulnerable and depressed michelle to help him commit suicide. >> he was constantly telling michelle and not telling his other friends, will you help me? >> >> reporter: the biggest hurdle for the defense, it seemed, was michele's admission of guilt to her friend sam. >> if you read the entire statement that she texted, she said, it is my fault, i told him to get back in. but then it continues to say -- but i didn't think he was ultimately going to do it. i wanted him to get help.
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i feel so badly about this. >> but on the one hand, you are saying, she didn't think he was going to get back in -- you want him to get help. on the other hand, though, you are saying that she was kind of -- that sort of succumb to, okay, i'm going to help him, he should do it if he wants to do with that badly. so, which -- >> she was all over the place. she was both. >> as former shells alleged motive, that she was an ill tension seeker, cataldo says the prosecution got it all wrong. >> it was a fabricated motive. they wanted to -- that she was suffering herself and was convinced by conrad roy to endorse his plan. because that is what happened. >> does michel know how bad she looks, to people who don't know this side of the story or who are not seeing it this way? >> at the age of 17, did michelle not understand all the ramifications of what was going on. now, looking back at the circumstances, she's a totally different person. >> reporter: the trial was winding to a close. each side would get a final
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word and then, the judge's dramatic ruling. the>> coming up -- the judge prepares to deliver his verdict. >> i expect to quorum today -- >> i thought that was a very good sign. >> when dateline continues -- line continues - from over 200 indoor and outdoor allergens, day after day. feel the clarity and make today the most wonderful time of the year. live claritin clear. what can i du with less asthma? with dupixent, i can du more.. catching my train... making moves... ♪♪ making a connection...
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that's a whole lot of happy campers out there. and it's never too late to join them. get $450 off any new purchase of an eligible samsung device with xfinity mobile. >> welcome back, michelle or add a line to your plan today at carter's trial had sparked heated debates in legal circles
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and living rooms across the globe. she was charged with causing the death of conrad roy. the controversial case hinged on a thorny question. would conwright have carried out his suicide plan without michele's and courage mint? a judge was about to render his verdict. here is andrea canning with the conclusion of reckless. >> reporter: after six days of testimony, both sides had their final say. >> but we are dealing with is a suicide and not a homicide. >> she could have easily called for help and she didn't. it took juvenile court judge, lawrence moan is, three days to reach his verdict. >> i expect that -- >> >> the packed courtroom was quiet as he began reading his decision. >> the commonwealth has not proven as to that time period that said reckless or wonton behavior caused the death of mr. roy. >> michelle looked relieved. the judge declared the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that
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her texts caused conrad's death. >> i thought that was a good sign. >> but the judge was not finished. while he acknowledged conrad had taken steps to end his life by placing the water pump in his truck, he said there was that one moment when conrad changed his mind. >> however, he breaks that chain of self-causation by exiting the vehicle. he takes himself out of the toxic environment that it has become. >> it was then, he believed, michelle became a party to his death. what's more, the judge said, she had a duty to save him. >> she called no one. and finally, she did not issue a simple instruction additionally. get out of the truck. >> >> ms. carter, please stand. >> a tearful michelle stood before the judge to hear her fate. >> having heard the evidence and applying the law there to, now find you guilty on the indictment of charging you with
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the involuntary manslaughter of conrad roy iii. >> how did feel hearing that word, guilty, after everything you had been through? >> i was surprised, actually. there needs to be an example set. you just cannot allow that behavior to continue. >> we were happy. but then, going home that night, driving home, it was like, okay. it didn't bring the piece i really was hoping for. there >> were no winners. just heartbreak for two families. >> i felt it was a tragedy now that has been compounded. nothing is going to help anything out of this. there's no healing going to happen. >> almost seven weeks later, michelle arrived back at the courthouse to a media circus to here her sentence. she faced a maximum of 20 years in prison. >> you made your recommendation. >> yes? >> 7-12 years. >> the defense asked for probation. >> ms. carter regrets what has happened and sent a letter
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where she accepts responsibility for her actions. >> then, the judge sentenced her. >> court now sentences you to 2-1/2 years in the bristol county house of corrections. 15 months of said sentence shall be deemed a committed sentence. >> 15 months behind bars. but before michelle could be led away in handcuffs, her lawyer requested she be allowed to remain free pending an appeal. the judge agreed. >> i continue to be encouraged that this will be a successful appeal. >> your eyes are watering. is that because you are emotional about this? >> i'm passionate about it. i'm passionate about it. i don't like when courts make new law and apply it to a 17-year-old girl who has psychiatric issues herself. >> so, this one hurt. >> oh, it hurt. >> if they see one to -- five >> in october, 2018,
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michelle carter's appeal went before the massachusetts supreme judicial court. four months later, the court upheld her conviction saying the evidence against the defendant proved that by her wanton or reckless conduct, she caused the victims death by suicide. michelle began serving her sentence in february 2019, and after just under a year behind bars, in january 2020, she was granted early release with credit to earn for good behavior. >> i feel worse for her mother than i do for myself. >> that's a powerful statement. >> well -- >> your son died. >> i know, when i had the son that i did. and i could not be more proud of the young man that he was. kind, selfless and compassionate. everything. >> conrad's mom says this is a hard story to tell. but she hopes sharing it will help others. >> there are children in this
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world, just like conrad. and i can't even imagine anything like this happening again. >> that's all for this edition of dateline. i'm natalie morales. thank you for watching. thank you for watching and i'm natalie morales. i'm craig melvin.ine." >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is dateline. >> it's shocking. it just kind of, you go into crisis mode. i don't think they knew exactly what had happened other than that he was covered in blood. she was just broken and lost. there is a murderer out there and it is terrifying. >> it was supposed to be an anniversary celebration. 32 years together. >> they were in love even after all those years. they were very happy together. >> suddenly, an intimate moments


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