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Criminally Culpable? Mass. Teen Charged In Friend's Suicide

It’s a tragic story that raises some thorny questions about the nature of suicide and the limits of criminal culpability. This past July, police found 18-year-old Conrad Roy in a parked car behind a K-Mart in Fairhaven, dead from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Now, his friend Michelle Carter is being charged with involuntary manslaughter in his death. Prosecutors claim she encouraged Roy to kill himself, even urging him to get back in his car and finish the job when he started having second thoughts. But Carter’s attorney says his client shouldn’t be held responsible for a decision that someone else made.

Jack Cunha is an attorney and former president of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Robert Mendoza is a neuropsychologist at Boston Forensic Associates who frequently consults on homicide cases


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