Attorney for teen accused of encouraging boyfriend to kill himself raises questions about antidepressant — (The Boston Globe)

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The Boston Globe


By Allison Manning July 29, 2016

Taunton, MA  Bristol County Juvenile Court…Michelle Carter, Plainville, in court today to face charges of encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide in 2014. (George Rizer for the GLobe) for METRO attys CORY MEDEIRA LEFT AND JOE CATALDO RIGHT Michelle Carter appeared in Taunton Juvenile Court with her attorneys Friday. –George Rizer for The Boston Globe

Both Conrad Roy III and Michelle Carter were taking the same antidepressant when Carter allegedly sent text messages encouraging her [boyfriend] Roy to kill himself in the summer of 2014, according to court records filed by her attorney.

Carter appeared in court Friday for the first time since the state’s highest court agreed that she should face an involuntary manslaughter charge in Roy’s death. Her attorney, Joseph Cataldo, filed 22 motions, mostly seeking evidence in the case.

The most significant filing was a motion to suppress statements Carter allegedly made to police when she was questioned on Oct. 2, 2014. She gave police the password to her phone and laptop, and in the motion Cataldo argues that it was an illegal search and seizure.

In an affidavit, Carter wrote that she didn’t feel she was free to leave and wasn’t advised of her constitutional rights.

One of the motions requests information related to the antidepressant citalopram, also known as Celexa, which apparently both Roy and Carter were taking. Cataldo requested documentary evidence about the drug, noting that the antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thinking, especially in adolescents and young adults.


“The defense needs to have these studies reviewed by its expert as to how this drug may have played into the defendant’s thinking and conduct during the calendar year of 2014 and how it might affect her thought process and behavior,” Cataldo wrote in another motion asking for funds for a forensic pharmacology and toxicology expert.

Cataldo also asked for an expert with forensic expertise in adolescent development and misconduct, which could hint at an insanity defense.

Among the other motions, Cataldo asked for records related to Roy’s mental health and previous suicide attempt in October 2012, including records from hospitals he visited and doctors he saw. He also requested records from all the schools Roy attended.

The case against Carter, now 19, has gotten national attention, with hundreds of the pair’s text messages entered into court records and put on display. Carter and Roy chatted all day, every day for weeks before he poisoned himself with carbon monoxide in his truck on July 13, 2014. The two discussed how he should kill himself, where to get a generator that would produce enough carbon monoxide to kill him and how happy he’d be once he was in heaven.

“You have to just do it,” she wrote in one.

Attorneys will be back in court on Sept. 2 to argue the evidentiary motions, and the Oct. 14 on the suppression motion. Carter could go to trial as early as December.