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Thread: Murder By Suicide?

  1. #1
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Murder By Suicide?

    Carter, now 20, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in [Conrad] Roy’s death in July 2014 for pressuring him to take his own life through dozens of text messages, a controversial and highly unusual prosecution that has drawn national attention.

    Roy, who lived in Mattapoisett, killed himself by inhaling a fatal dose of carbon monoxide generated by a pump installed in his truck.

    Carter’s lawyers contend that Roy was a deeply troubled teenager who searched the Internet repeatedly for ways to commit suicide. Roy’s mother has testified that her son had attempted to kill himself in 2012 with over-the-counter prescription medication, but that his mental health appeared to improve over the next two years.

    *Snip*

    While she desperately sought the approval of others, prosecutors say, Carter recklessly persuaded Roy to follow through on plans to kill himself, and even ordered him to get back into his truck when he had second thoughts.

    In her messages to Boardman and three other women, Carter appeared to use Roy as a conversation piece, telling her peers she had a boyfriend who was “in a bad place right now.”

    In one exchange with former classmate Alexandra Eblan, two days before Roy killed himself, Carter wrote that she was “losing all hope that he’s even still alive.”

    Carter told her peers that she listened over the phone as Roy succumbed to the carbon monoxide fumes, admitting she never alerted authorities or his family, prosecutors said.

    “I could have stopped him but I told him to get back in the car,” Carter wrote in a text to Boardman. “I knew he would do it all over again. I couldn’t have him living the way he was living anymore.’’

    Four days after Roy’s death, Carter texted Ali Eithier, who she met at a summer camp in 2014 and barely knew, that she “was on the phone talking to him when he killed himself. I heard him dying.”

    *Snip*

    Carter has been charged as a youthful offender in Bristol Juvenile Court and if convicted faces up to 20 years in prison. But criminal justice specialists predict that prosecutors will have a difficult time proving that Carter caused Roy’s death.

    “Most involuntary manslaughter cases involve physical action, but her words and text messages provided the action,” said Daniel Medwed, a professor of law and criminal justice at Northeastern University’s School of Law. “The question is whether her morally despicable behavior constitutes manslaughter under the law, and I don’t know that it does.”

    “He was physically free to decide,” said Rosanna Cavallaro, a law professor at Suffolk University. Although Roy was “extraordinarily vulnerable,” Carter’s insistent pressure did not constitute a crime under the existing law, she said.
    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/20...PFL/story.html

    The texts at the center of this case are found here:

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/20..._Inline_Bottom

    Quite a case, huh?
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  2. #2
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    America has struggled -- a lot -- with various offenses of "speech only" that resulted in deaths. Among the legal barriers to prosecution are the first amendment freedom of speech; difficulty in proving intent when the malfeasor can later claim "we were just kidding"; etc.

    We have had children blackmailed into making child porn, who killed themselves rather than be unmasked to their families. Children humiliated by adults who targeted them, knowing the child was vulnerable and suicide quite likely. Adults who killed themselves after forming a suicide pact with a nurse, whose advice was used to carry out the death and who had no intention of dying himself; a college kid who suicided after discovering that his roommate had secretly video'd his lovemaking and broadcast that to the dorm, outting him as gay.

    Is it possible, IYO, to make it a crime to use words, etc. online calculated to inspire another person to suicide, if they actually do suicide?

    These incidents are on the rise; we will not be able to hide from this dilemma.

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    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Freedom of speech relates to the communication of ideas. Arguably, speech that constitutes psychological manipulation might not be "speech" at all within the context of the 1st Amendment, but rather would be a act that is legally operative rather than expressive (just like free speech covers "expressive conduct"). So yes, it would seem possible to make this kind of thing into a crime.
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    Veteran Member Dr Sampson Simpson's Avatar
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    I hate these types of cases. The person who committed suicide is responsible, not anybody that may have been mean to them or egged them on. THis is regardless of the immoral behavior of the person. Is them egging on someone to kill themselves or being mean to them fall under an illegal act? If so, they should be charged with that, not murder. Since they actually didn't physically commit the crime of killing that person.

    Where does it stop? Are you responsible for someone's suicide if you break up with them and that leads to them killing themselves?
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  5. #5
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Sampson Simpson View Post
    I hate these types of cases. The person who committed suicide is responsible, not anybody that may have been mean to them or egged them on. THis is regardless of the immoral behavior of the person. Is them egging on someone to kill themselves or being mean to them fall under an illegal act? If so, they should be charged with that, not murder. Since they actually didn't physically commit the crime of killing that person.

    Where does it stop? Are you responsible for someone's suicide if you break up with them and that leads to them killing themselves?
    One case involved a 41 mother who drove her 12 year old daughter's playmate to suicide. Deliberately. Lori Drew.

    There is no "caveat emptor" for the internet that adequately protects vulnerable people.

    So do we abandon them, when they fall prey to sadists you and I can barely imagine? What social good would that serve?
    Last edited by Madeline; 8th June 2017 at 10:56 AM.

  6. #6
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    One case involved a 41 mother who drive her 12 year old daughter's playmate to suicide. Deliberately. Lori Drew.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_of_Megan_Meier

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Drew
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    Veteran Member TNVolunteer73's Avatar
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    The only problem I have with charging the person texting, if the person committed suicide there were deeper problems than the text messages.


    I think the person texting is a sick puppy... but criminal.. of that I am not sure.
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  8. #8
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNVolunteer73 View Post
    The only problem I have with charging the person texting, if the person committed suicide there were deeper problems than the text messages.


    I think the person texting is a sick puppy... but criminal.. of that I am not sure.
    Obviously. But how hard is it to find a vulnerable child or young adult online? I could do it 5 minutes.

    It's not an easy line to draw, at all. She didn't even teach him a suicide method. Just nagged him.

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    'Reckless disregard', and whatever punishments that go along with that seems to be the more appropriate approach. I have serious misgivings about any type of murder charges here, or any case that surrounds 'encouragement' of an act. In the end, we're responsible for our own choices and behaviors, and if we go down this rabbit hole, we should expect it to only get broader and deeper.
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  10. #10
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webrockk View Post
    'Reckless disregard', and whatever punishments that go along with that seems to be the more appropriate approach. I have serious misgivings about any type of murder charges here, or any case that surrounds 'encouragement' of an act. In the end, we're responsible for our own choices and behaviors, and if we go down this rabbit hole, we should expect it to only get broader and deeper.
    Ya.....except she apparently wanted to have a suicided boyfriend for the social benefits. She targeted him.

    Doesn't that change things?

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