18 June 2017

The Wickedest Woman in the World

by Leigh Lundin

Ever see the movie Gaslight? Based on the play by Patrick Hamilton, the British version came out in 1940 followed by the North American version in 1944. Gaslight, as you know, entered the vocabulary meaning psychological torture against another made vulnerable by love. Dante should have created a subcircle for those who destroy people who love them. We’ll come back to playwright Patrick Hamilton shortly.

Distaff Defense

When a client is a woman, defense teams try to jury-select as many men as possible. Men tend to be far more sympathetic toward a woman killer than do other women. It’s been said women aren’t as easily fooled by their own sex.

Sometimes I’m susceptible, I admit it, but I like to think logic and rationality provide the best hope to resolve cases. For example, a careful look at the evidence– at times presented in twisted ways to the jury– suggest Casey Anthony did not kill her daughter. More likely, chlorine findings intimate the little girl drowned in the family pool and Casey panicked.

On the other hand, who can doubt Jodi Arias didn’t murder her boyfriend? Yet, even after her admissions, some guys continued to contend it was all a mistake. Fanboys insisted she ought to be pardoned or at least paroled. Neither Arias, Anthony, nor anyone else should face execution, but come on guys, grow brain cells.

Death by Unseen Hand

Michelle Carter
Now we have Michelle Carter. Over time she encouraged and manipulated a vulnerable boy into suicide. This boy trusted her; he deeply believed she held his best interest at heart. In actuality, she held his life in her hands and she, intoxicated with the power and drama, crushed it like an empty cigarette pack.

This past week, she was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and released by the judge on bail pending sentencing… if any.

Impassioned articles calling for her unconditional release have appeared across the spectrum. Editorials argue she’s “a young, impressionable girl,” she’s a child, she’s an innocent, she didn’t mean it and besides she’s just too cute to kill.

The judge was astonishingly sympathetic toward her, but that didn’t stop critics insisting he should have dismissed the charges or throw out his own verdict. Some have followed lawyer Joseph Cataldo’s lead by suggesting she is the victim, brainwashed by a suicidal boy.

Conrad Roy III
Cataldo, along with conservative outlets such as National Review and Hot Air, further argues her whispers of death should be protected by the First Amendment. By that reasoning, a spouse who hires a hitman to kill their mate could claim protected free speech. Once on that slippery slope, what would preclude a mafia don from claiming orders of murder-for-hire to underlings should be protected too?

Murder by Suicide

The main difference is Michelle Carter cut out the middle man and nagged her mentally enfeebled ‘friend’ to just ƒ-ing kill himself. After coming up with the idea of carbon monoxide poisoning, she dreamt up further ways for him to kill himself– hanging and bagging. For the drama, you know, the ooh and ahhs of classmates and the warm glow of hugs and Twitter attention and that lovely feeling of power over life and death.

One major assertion claims she can’t be a killer because she wasn’t present. Again, the spouse-hiring-hitman argument could be applied, but it’s simpler than that: She was in his head. Instead of commanding her own finger to pull the trigger, she commanded his. In his susceptible state, the lad followed through, an instrument of his own demise.

Give a Girl Enough Rope…

Michelle Carter’s plotting reminded me of another classic play and crime movie again by Patrick Hamilton, the same playwright who wrote Gaslight. Film fans will recognize Rope as the innovative Hitchcock suspense. Inspired by a true story, students experimentally kill a friend, arrogantly believing they’ll get away with it.

Michelle Carter
In a nutshell, that sums up Michelle Carter’s approach. The difference is she strangled no one; instead she manipulated her friend into killing himself.

That anyone could reach that depth of evil beggars imagination. Clearly she knew exactly what she was doing. Over hundreds of text messages, she cajoled, threatened, urged and persuaded her friend to take his own life. She gaslighted him.

Part of me argues she was only 17 then, intelligent but immature, that she lovingly practiced assisted suicide. But then I reread the transcripts of their cell phone records. She lied to the boy’s mother, his sister, her own friends, the police, and the boy himself. She admitted he’d be alive if it weren’t for her.

She’s young, so she has plenty of time for redemption. That’s more than she gave her friend, Conrad Roy.

Children shouldn’t be tried as adults, and that includes her. Nonetheless, a possible sentence of zero time would be a terrible miscarriage of justice.

What is your take?

Cellular Text Transcript




June 2014In June 2014, Michelle Charter initially suggested Conrad Roy seek help for his depression and suicidal thoughts. In July, her tone abruptly changed.
CARTERYou always say you’re gonna do it, but you never do
CARTERI just want to make sure tonight is the real thing.
CONRADHow was your day?
CARTERWhen are you doing it?
CONRADSince you don’t get your snapchat anymore, I sent them to you.
CARTER😀 My day was okay. How was yours?
CONRADGood.
CARTERReally?
CONRADYes.
CARTERThat’s great. What did you do?
CONRADEnded up going to work for a little bit and then just looked stuff up.
CARTERWhen are you gonna do it? Stop ignoring the question???
04-Jul-14
CARTERYou can’t keep pushing it off, though. That’s all you keep doing.
CARTERYou're gonna have to prove me wrong because I just don't think you really want this. You just keeps pushing it off to another night and say you'll do it but you never do
05-Jul-14
CARTERSEE THAT'S WHAT I MEAN. YOU KEEP PUSHING IT OFF!
CARTERYou just said you were gonna do it tonight and now you're saying eventually…
06-Jul-14
CARTERBut I bet you're gonna be like 'oh, it didn't work because I didn't tape the tube right or something like that' … I bet you're gonna say an excuse like that
07-Jul-14
CONRADIf you were in my position. honestly what would you do
CARTERI would get help. That's just me tho. When I have a serious problem like that my first instinct is to get help because I know I can't do it on my own
CARTERWell there's more ways to make CO. Google ways to make it…
CONRADOmg
CARTERWhat
CONRADportable generator that's it
08-Jul-14
CARTERSo are you sure you don't wanna [kill yourself] tonight?
CONRADWhat do you mean am I sure?
CARTERLike, are you definitely not doing it tonight?
CONRADIdk yet I'll let you know
CARTERBecause I'll stay up with you if you wanna do
it tonight
CONRADAnother day wouldn't hurt
CARTERYou can't keep pushing it off, tho, that's all you keep doing
09-Jul-14
CARTERDo you have the generator?
CONRADnot yet lol
CARTERWELL WHEN ARE YOU GETTING IT
10-Jul-14
CARTERYou better not be bull shitting me and saying you're gonna do this and then purposely get caught
CARTER(text to female friend) I texted his mom 'cause I was getting really worried. Like, he always texts me in the morning and he didn't and he stopped answering last night so I asked her where he was and she said they have been looking for him for the past few hours and they can't find him.
CARTER(text to female friend) Is there any way a portable generator can kill you somehow because he said he was getting that and some other tools at the store. He said he needed to replace the 18 generator at work and fix stuff I didn't really think anything of it but he didn't go to work today so I don't know why he would have got that stuff.
11-Jul-14
CONRADI'm just too sensitive. I want my family to know there was nothing they could do. I am entrapped in my own thoughts
CONRADlike no I would be happy if they had no guilt about it. because I have a bad feeling tht this is going to create a lot of depression between my parents/sisters
CONRADi'm overthinking everything. fuck. I gotta stop and just do it
CARTERI think your parents know you’re in a really bad place. I’m not saying they want you to do it but I honestly feel like they can accept it. They know there is nothing they can do. They’ve tried helping. Everyone’s tried, but there is a point that comes where there isn’t anything anyone can do to save you, not even yourself.
And you’ve hit that point and I think your parents know you’ve hit that point. You said your mom saw a suicide thing on your computer and she didn’t say anything. I think she knows it’s on your mind and she’s prepared for it.
Everyone will be sad for a while but they will get over it and move on. They won’t be in depression. I won’t let that happen. They know how sad you are, and they know that you are doing this to be happy and I think they will understand and accept it.
They will always carry you in their hearts.
CONRADAww. Thank you, Michelle.
CARTERThey will move on for you because they know that’s what you would have wanted. They know you wouldn’t want them to be sad and depressed and be angry and guilty. They know you want them to live their lives and be happy. So they will for you. You’re right. You need to stop thinking about this and just do it because over turning always kills, over thinking.
CONRADYeah, it does. I’ve been thinking about it for too long.
CARTERAlways smile, and, yeah, you have to just do it. You have everything you need. There is no way you can fail. Tonight is the night. It’s now or never.
CARTERDon’t be scared. You already made this decision and if you don’t do it tonight you’re gonna be thinking about it all the time and stuff all the rest of your life and be miserable.
You’re finally going to be happy in heaven. No more pain. No more bad thoughts and worries. You’ll be free.
It’s okay to be scared and it’s normal. I mean, you’re about to die. I would be concerned if you weren’t scared, but I know how bad you want this and how bad you want to be happy. You have to face your fears for what you want.
CARTERIf you don’t think about it, you won’t think about failing. You’ll just do it and then thinking you’ll succeed.
CONRADRight. That’s what I’m talking about. I read so much about failed attempts gone wrong that it’s gotten me discouraged.
CARTERYeah, exactly, so stop doing that. There is more success than there are failures.
CONRADAre you kidding me?
CARTERYou have to look at it that way and people only fail because they have the same mindset as you. Thinking they’ll fail.
CONRADI really want to believe you.
CARTERWhy don’t you.
CARTER(text to female friend) I’m confused. I'm going to talk to his mom tomorrow morning and I'll let you know but don't be sorry. It's my fault. I mean, I should have did something. I just didn't think he was serious because he always says stuff and I just didn't think anything of it. But, yeah, I want to believe that. He told me he wouldn't do anything without telling me. Just in case something did happen, I'm thankful that our last words were I love you … I was supposed to save him. He needed me. I let him down. I should have knew what he was saying was suspicious and I should have called his mom or someone. I could have prevented this.
CARTERWell in my opinion, I think u should do the generator because I don't know much about the pump and with a generator u can't fail
CONRAD(Visits Sears to purchase a generator. There he sees a character dressed as Christ Jesus.)
CONRADGuess who is here.
CARTERWho? Wait, here? Wait, where?
CONRADJesus.
CARTERHa ha, it’s meant to be.
CONRADLiterally, there is a guy walking around in a Jesus costume.
CARTERHa, ha, ha. It’s a sign it’s your calling.
CONRADi don't want anyone hurt in the process though
CONRADI meant when they open the door, all the carbon monoxide is gonna come out they can't see it or smell it. whoever opens the door
CARTERThey will see the generator and know that you died of CO…
CONRADhey can you do me a favor
CARTERYes of course
CONRADjust be there for my family 😀
CARTERConrad, of course I will be there for your family. I will help them as much as I can to get thru this, ill tell them about how amazing their son/brother truly was
CARTER(text to female friend) I know I can't help him no matter how many times I try but I could have prevented him from missing which could end up being his death.
12-Jul
CONRADOkayy.
CARTERConrad!
CARTERHey, you there?
CONRADHey, sorry. I fell asleep.
CARTERIt’s okay. Why haven’t you done it yet tho?
CONRADI’m too messed up to.
CARTERWhat are you talking about?
CONRADMy head.
CARTERYou can’t think about it. You just have to do it. You said you were gonna do it. Like I don’t get why you aren’t.
CONRADI don’t get it either. I don’t know.
CARTERSo I guess you aren’t gonna do it then. All that for nothing. I’m just confused. Like you were so ready and determined.
CONRADI am gonna eventually. I really don’t know what I’m waiting for but I have everything lined up.
CARTERNo, you’re not, Conrad. Last night was it. You kept pushing it off and you say you’ll do it, but you never do. It’s always gonna be that way if you don’t take action. You’re just making it harder on yourself by pushing it off. You just have to do it. Do you want to do it now?
CONRADIs it too late? I don’t know. It’s already light outside. I’m gonna go back too sleep. Love you. I’ll text you tomorrow.
CARTERNo. It’s probably the best time now because everyone is sleeping. Just go somewhere in your truck and no one is really out there right now because it’s an awkward time. If you don’t do it now you’re never gonna do it, and you can say you’ll do it tomorrow, but you probably won’t. Tonight? Love you.
CONRADThank you.
CARTERFor what. Are you awake?
CONRADYes.
CARTERAre you gonna do it today?
CONRADYes.
CARTERLike in the day time?
CONRADShould I?
CARTERYeah, it’s less suspicious. You won’t think about it as much and you’ll get it over with instead of wait until the night.
CONRADYeah then I will. Like where? Like I could go in any enclosed area.
CARTERGo in your truck and drive in a parking lot somewhere, to a park or something. Do it like early. Do it now, like early.
CONRADDidn’t we say this was suspicious?
CARTERNo. I think night is more suspicious, a kid sitting in his car turning on the radio. Just do it. It wouldn’t be suspicious and it won’t take long.
CONRADOkay. I’m taking Holly for a walk.
CARTEROkay.
CONRADI don’t know why I’m like this.
CARTERSometimes things happen and we never have the answers why.
CONRADLike, 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.
CARTERYou’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 tum the generator on and you will be free and happy. No more pushing it off. No more waiting.
CONRADYou’re right.
CARTERIf you want it as bad as you say you do it’s time to do it today.
CONRADYup. No more waiting.
CARTEROkay. I’m serious. Like you can’t even wait ’till tonight. You have to do it when you get back from your walk.
CONRADThank you.
CARTERFor what?
CONRADStill being here.
CARTERI would never leave you. You’re the love of my life, my boyfriend. You are my heart. I’d never leave you.
CONRADAw.
CARTERI love you.
CONRADLove you, too.
CARTERWhen will you be back from your walk?
CONRADLike, five minutes.
CARTEROkay. So you gonna do it?
CONRADI guess.
CARTERWell, I want you to be ready and sure. What does that mean?
CONRADI don’t know. I’m freaking out again. I’m over thinking.
CARTERI thought you wanted to do this. This time is right and you’re ready. You just need to do it. You can’t keep living this way. You just need to do it like you did the last time and not think about it and just do it, babe. You can’t keep doing this every day.
CONRADI do want to but I’m like freaking for my family I guess. I don’t know.
CARTERConrad, I told you I’ll take care of them. Everyone will take care of them to make sure they won’t be alone and people will help them get through it. We talked about this and they will be okay and accept it. People who commit suicide don’t think this much. They just could do it.
CONRADI know. I know. LOL. Thinking just drives me more crazy.
CARTERYou just need to do it, Conrad, or I’m gonna get you help. You can’t keep doing this everyday.
CONRADOkay. I’m gonna do it today.
CARTERYou promise?
CONRADI promise, babe. I have to now.
CARTERLike right now?
CONRADWhere do I go?
CARTERAnd you can’t break a promise. And just go in a quiet parking lot or something.
CONRADOkay.
CARTERGo somewhere you know you won’t get caught. You can find a place. I know you can. Are you doing it now?
CONRADI’m determined.
CARTERI’m happy to hear that.
CONRADI’m ready.
CARTERGood because it’s time, babe. You know that.
CARTERWhen you get back from the beach you’ve gotta go do it. You’re ready. You’re determined. It’s the best time to do it.
CONRADOkay, I will.
CARTERAre you back?
CONRADNo more thinking.
CARTERYes. No more thinking. You need to just do it. No more waiting.
CONRADOn way back. I know where to go now.
CARTERWhere?
CONRADA parking lot. There is going to be no cars there at 9:00. So that’s when I’ll be found.
CARTEROkay, perfect. When will you be home?
CONRAD10 minutes.
CARTERHa ha, that’s perfect.
CARTEROkay. And, well, yeah, I don’t know.
CONRADLike, I don’t wanna kill anyone else with me.
CARTERYou won’t.
CONRADWhen they open the door they won’t know it’s odorless and colorless.
CARTERYou’re over thinking. They will see the generator and realize you breathed in CO too.
CONRADSo should I keep it in the back seat or front?
CARTERIn the front. You could write on a piece of paper and tape it on saying carbon monoxide or something if you’re scared.
CONRADI was thinking that but someone might see it before it actually happens.
CARTERWell, wait, the generator is gonna be on because you’ll be passed out, so they’ll know you used carbon monoxide. Dead. It’s not loud is it?
CONRADNot really, LMAO.
CARTEROkay, good. Are you gonna do it now?
CONRADI’m home.
CARTEROkay.
CONRADAhhh.
CARTERWhat?
CONRADI don’t know. I’m stressing.
CARTERYou’re fine. It’s gonna be okay. You just gotta do it, babe. You can’t think about it.
CONRADOkay. Okay. I got this.
CARTERYes, you do. I believe in you. Did you delete the messages?
CONRADYes. But you’re going to keep messaging me.
CARTERI will until you turn on the generator.
CONRADOkay. Well, I’m bringing my sisters for ice cream.
CARTERSo will you do it when you get back?
CONRADYup, I’ll go right there.
CARTEROkay.
CONRADLove you.
CARTERI love so much.
CONRAD😀
CARTER❤♥
CONRADHa ha. What are you doing?
CARTERNothing really. Just resting.
CONRADOkay. Ha, ha I’m procrastinating.
CARTERYeah, ha ha, I know. Are you back?
CONRADYup.
CARTERSo it’s time?
CONRADOh, it’s been time.
CARTERAre you gonna do it now?
CONRADI just don’t know how to leave them, you know.
CARTERSay you’re gonna go the store or something.
CONRADLike, I want them to know that I love them.
CARTERThey know. That’s one thing they definitely know. You’re over thinking.
CONRADI know I’m over thinking. I’ve been over thinking for a while now.
CARTERI know. You just have to do it like you said. Are you gonna do it now?
CONRADI still haven’t left yet, ha ha.
CARTERWhy?
CONRADLeaving now.
CARTEROkay. You can do this.
CONRADOkay. I’m almost there.
CONRAD(43 minute voice call with Carter.)
CARTER(47 minute voice with Conrad Roy. He became scared after setting things in motion. She ordered him back into the truck to complete the poisoning. “I fucken told him to get back in.”)
CONRAD(Dies by carbon monoxide inhilation.)
13 July 2014 etc…
CARTER(text to Conrad’s sister) Do you know where you brother is?
CARTER(text to Conrad’s mother) Do you know where Conrad is?
MOTHER: They’ve been looking for him the past few hours and they can't find him.
CARTER(text to female friend) He just called me and there 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 like 20 minutes and that's all I heard. I think he just killed himself ... I'm so fucken stupid. The generator he got the other day I think that was the noise I heard. I just looked it up. They emit carbon monoxide. I think he poisoned himself with it and it's all my fault because I should have knew he 17 was going to do that and I should have stopped him. I kept trying to call and there was no answer. I think he did it. I don't even know what to do right now.
CARTER(text to female friend) Just talked to his sister. He's dead. He committed suicide. Police found him in his truck. He died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator. He died while talking to me on the phone.
14-Jul-14
CARTER(tweet) Such a beautiful soul gone too soon.
CARTER(tweet) I’ll always remember your bright light and smile. You’ll forever be in my heart, I love you Conrad.
CARTER(text to female friend) I don't know how I'm supposed to get through this. I can't function. I haven't eaten. I just completely shut down. I do blame myself It's my fault. I was talking to him while he killed himself. I heard him cry in pain. I should have known. I should have done something.
20-Jul-14
CARTER(text to female friend) And that night I knew he was going to do it and a part of me thought he wasn't going to like always but when he stopped talking to me on the phone, like, I knew he did it, and a couple of days before leading up to it I guess I kind of let him do it. I started giving up because whatever I said I knew I couldn't change his mind so we talked about it and about how I'll take care of his family when he's gone and all of that.
Like, to him it seemed like I was okay with him dying but I wasn't. Like, I didn't think he was actually going to do it, you know. Like, I said stuff to make him realize how stupid he was being and I tried to convince him not to but I think I just made it easier for him?
I knew he was in the K-mart fucken parking lot. I knew he was going to use the generator to inhale carbon monoxide. I knew it all. But I didn't think he would actually go through with it or that it would work, and that's why I feel like it's all my fault because I knew what he was going to do but I didn't call anyone to stop him.
CARTERIt's just hard because, like, I was the only one that knew and I, like, said yesterday everyone talks about how they wished he had someone to talk to and told what he was feeling to and I was that person so I'll always feel guilty about it.
Like, I'm the reason everyone was in that church yesterday. But you're right. He was just going to do it another time and I'm thankful for talking about everything we did know knowing he was going to die. It's just you think I'm a bad person for doing what I did?
… yeah, that's exactly what I wanted. I didn't want to be mad at him anymore because I knew he was going to do it so I knew yelling at him wouldn't help. I wanted him to die knowing that I accepted it and that I loved him.
I was the last person he talked to so I feel special that I had that moment with him? It's hard to accept it now that it actually happened but I know he's finally happy. I told him it was okay to do it because he was miserable and I knew he would always be in pain and I just couldn't stand to see him like that anymore.
I told him he'd be free and happy in heaven. I wanted him to leave knowing he wasn't selfish for doing it.
21-Jul-14
CARTER(text to female friend) I just got off the phone with Conrad's mom about 20 minutes ago and she told me that detectives had to come to go through his things and stuff. It's something they have to do with suicides and homicides and she said they have to go through his phone and see if anyone encouraged him to do it on text and stuff. Sam, they read my messages with him I'm done. His family will hate me and I can go to jail.
FRIENDPolice are unlikely to tell Conrad's family about [your encouragement] unless it was like really bad bullying.
CARTERYeah, that's what I'm hoping. Like, I hope they see that he had his mind set on it. Like, it may seem like I wanted him to do it but I didn't at all. You know I loved him. Like, I read the thing online where it said if you agree with the person then it makes them realize how stupid they're being and so they'll stop it but it didn't work and I just I don't know. I hope that the cops don't see it that way. Like, I didn't bully him or anything? So you don't think that they'll really tell his family?
Carter continues texting her friend throughout the remainder of the year.
15-Sep-14
CARTER(text to female friend) his death is my fault. Like, honestly I could have stopped it. I was the one on the phone with him and he got out of the car because he was working and he got scared and I fucken told him to get back in…


10 comments:

Steve Liskow said...

Leigh,

This is a complex topic that offers fodder for dozens of novels. I grew up believing that everything you do has a consequence, and I think that's how we all feel as writers. It's how both art and life are supposed to work. Otherwise, the world is random, and that's too frightening to contemplate.

The issue of punishment is always tricky, too. When does a person really comprehend the scope of his or her actions? It's not the same for everyone, but we have laws and designations--adult, juvenile, competent, etc. And none of them are foolproof. Remember that 21 became the legal definition of "adult" centuries ago because that was the age at which it was determined that a male was physically strong enough to wear armor.

What is the "appropriate" punishment? We've grappled with this for centuries and continue to do so: abolishing the death penalty, de-criminalizing drugs in favor of treatment (or not), and so on. We're still working on it.

Yes, there needs to be punishment here, but I don't know what it should be except that I feel it should be substantial. All I know about the case is what I've read on various (admittedly biased) social media and news sites, but even when you know "everything," how do you decide?

Clarence Darrow was a strong enemy of the death penalty and defended people accused of heinous crimes. Even he wasn't sure...

We face more and more difficult issues today, partly because of social media, but also because we seem to be losing the will to take responsibility. I look at last week's ball field shooting and the accusations about hate speech on both sides, the upcoming Alex Jones interview (I live in CT, only an hour's drive from Sandy Hook), and wonder where we go from here.

As writers, it's up to us to search for an answer. Thanks for reminding us of that.

Leigh Lundin said...

Steve, your comment is so thoughtful it’s taken me a while to sort out a response.

One of our limitations as humans is we have no gauge, no way to measure when a perpetrator’s horror and guilt strikes home. Dante famously recognized many levels of punishment and reward, but without peeking into a person’s soul, how do we know? When if ever does remorse take over?

I’m not a believer in unrestricted retribution and that includes capital punishment. The jury in the Casey Anthony case recognized the error of the death penalty and that in Florida’s thirst for vengeance, the trap left them no way out. If my hypothesis toddler Caylee drowned could be proven, then execution could have put the state in a position of murdering a wrongfully charged person, which Florida has done many times.

Here our girl Michelle Carter was so self-involved, craving attention and affection from her peers, she became the drama, directing its actors like a stage play. In her moral blindness, she never foresaw the plot taking a different direction, but that’s true of many criminals.

If she had stabbed Conrad Roy in the heart with her own knife, we wouldn’t be reading about her. Despite arguments that what she did wasn’t so bad, her crime strikes me as the most reprehensible. If planning and plotting represent the hallmarks of first degree murder, she landed solidly at the top of the charts.

Carter is only 20 now. I like to think in five or ten years, the enormity of her actions seep into her soul. If we could measure that happening, it would satisfy me. She might go on to lead a productive life, nurse the indigent and elderly, marry and bear a child who one day might be lucky enough not to meet a predatory teenager…

Eve Fisher said...

I believe that what Michelle Carter did is not covered by the 1st Amendment. If the 1st Amendment doesn't cover shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater, then it shouldn't cover talking someone into committing suicide. Talking hell, - she badgered him. It doesn't matter if Conrad Roy was suicidal. Here's a news flash: teenagers are often depressive and suicidal, but it doesn't mean that they really, REALLY want to do it - if you could burrow into the backs of their feverish adolescent brains, you'd find someone who thought, like Tom Sawyer, that the best part of dying would be to come back and watch everyone sobbing at their funeral. 99.9% want to be stopped.

But Michelle Carter did not want to be stopped from what she was doing. What sealed her fate - and should have, imho - is when she told a friend that when Conrad Roy texted her that he'd gotten out of the truck, she told him to "get back f***ing there". That right there showed that she wanted him to die. I want her to do some time in prison where she can think long and hard about consequences. He's dead; and everyone knows why. Zero sympathy.

Leigh Lundin said...

Eve, well put. She was relentless, insidious, especially when he wanted to abandon the thought at least for a while. She’s highly intelligent and had to appreciate exactly what she was doing. Telling him to get back in the truck, now his death trap, hints he didn’t want to pursue this as badly as she did.

I dislike imputing less-than-obvious motives, but I find it hard to disagree with the prosecution that she couldn’t wait to become the center of attention once he’d killed himself. Of course once investigators turned their lights on her, that center-of-attention thing grew a bit heavy.

I was reading British tabloids today and like here, a number of guys rushed to her defense. You know more about hybristophilia than the rest of us, but this doesn’t seem like hybristophilia to me. What is your take, Eve?

Personally, I’d like to see her get a comfortable 10-12 years, time to reflect and do penance if she can, but not so long as to ruin her life. I like to think she could become a decent person, one worth salvaging.

Eve Fisher said...

Leigh, this strikes me as a new version of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, where one party makes the other one sick (and sometimes dead) to get sympathy from the world around them. MSBP is usually done to children or spouses, but why not a boyfriend? (Sigh...)

I agree - 10 years or so to think about it.

Leigh Lundin said...

Eve, that's a brilliant insight. It would explain a lot– she gets all the attention and someone else she supposedly cares about pays the heavy price. Well considered, Eve. I like that.

Fran Rizer said...

Leigh, you've touched on three cases that have intrigued me since their beginnings and probably will forever even though the trials are over. I'd like to share my take on each. So far as Casey Anthony is concerned, if Caylee drowned accidentally, how do we account for the chloroform? It was almost unbelievable to me that so many different death blows were used in Alexander's case. Like Eve, I've seen Michelle Carter's case as Munchausen from the first I heard of it. '

However...I truly see another condition common to all three of these women. It's what I call the "me, myself first, my needs only" syndrome, better known as Narcism.

As you know, Leigh, I love murder mysteries but don't do well with killing or killers in reality. How about a blog about the women who court and marry murderers in prison?


A Broad Abroad said...

In 1980, I saw the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany, performed every 10 years by the inhabitants, in thanks for being spared from a plague back in the 1630s. It runs for over six hours, including breaks, and is all in German.
Despite the language and passing years, I clearly recall the anguish, the agony of Judas when he realised the enormity of what he had done.
Michelle Carter may not have had as famous a victim, but, one day, she will know that pain.

Leigh Lundin said...

Fran, you raise a number of fascinating issues.

Casey Anthony

It’s not entirely clear whether investigators said chlorine (the element) or chloroform (a chlorine compound) was detected in the car, but it makes little difference. The prosecution stitched that together with another point of interest to come up with a hypothesis that Casey deliberately or accidentally killed her child to keep her quiet during sex. As evidence, they point to someone in the house googling chloroform. However, one (or two) of Casey’s friends had just sent her a joke about chloroform (Win her over with chloroform) and I suspect she, not the brightest bulb on the tree, had to look it up. If she used chloroform, where/how did she get it? She didn’t look up how to make it nor was Casey any kind of chemist. The prosecution suggested, without proof, she obtained it some way through her mother, despite their hostile relationship.

I suggest it’s far more likely Caylee either drowned in the pool or was exposed to pool chlorine, where a major byproduct is chloroform. It’s not unusual for chloroform levels in regulated public pools to exceed 20 times that of tap water, with suggested links to miscarriages. It’s not known what that level reached in the Anthony pool. Caylee had spent the last day she was seen alive in the pool under the eye of Cindy Anthony.

Jodi Arias

Criminologists suggest such ‘overkill’ usually indicates intense passion and rage. As a clue, it often indicates someone closely involved with the victim.

Michelle Carter

Fran, I’m impressed both you and Even reached the same conclusion about Munchausen by proxy. I think that’s brilliant. You also hit the proverbial nail about narcism.

Hybristophilia

I’ve known two women who courted prisoners and one who married prisoners twice. The first was in my writing class, and she wrote long, agonizing chapters about the poor, wrongly accused lad.

The second was an absolutely brilliant psychologist with multiple degrees… I think she earned her PhD as well. She knew all the warning signs, yet she took the plunge twice. Whatever her underlying causes, she showed signs of a strong masochistic streak.

Eve, with her years of prison work, is probably best positioned to write about hybristophilia. I agree with you, Fran, it should make a fascinating article.

Leigh Lundin said...

ABA, that's a poignant and forgiving point. Thank you for bringing up the juxtaposition.