Warning: This post about Conrad Roy III and Michelle Carter contains descriptions of suicide.
If you’ve seen the first few episodes of Hulu’s The Girl From Plainville, you may be wondering — did Michelle Carter really put on a mental health awareness fundraiser in honor of Conrad Roy III just a few months after his suicide?
The event is surprising, in retrospect, since Carter was later convicted on involuntary manslaughter charges for enouraging him to kill himself. But it really did happen, according to the Hartford Courant.
The newspaper reported that Roy’s best friend, Tom Gammell, told detectives about the “Homers for Conrad” softball fundraiser that he helped Carter organize a few months after Roy’s death. The fundraiser is depicted in Episode 2, “Turtle,” of The Girl From Plainville.
Gammell also told detectives he suspected that Michelle Carter was “kind of looking for attention” by organizing the fundraiser and that she had even accused him of “taking credit for my idea,” according to the Courant.
According to Esquire, it’s also true that the fundraiser was raising money for suicide prevention.
“When school started in September, everyone at King Philip High, in Wrentham, saw that Michelle Carter was broken up over the tragic death of her boyfriend. On the thirteenth—the day after what would have been Conrad’s nineteenth birthday—she held a fundraiser for suicide prevention in his honor,” Esquire‘s Jesse Barron wrote in 2017. “Girls surrounded her, picked her up to pose for photos. Privately, some of them were confused. ‘Before the suicide,’ one of her soccer teammates told me, ‘he was never her boyfriend—he was just ‘my friend.””
Michelle Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a judge found her guilty of influencing Roy’s decision to commit suicide in July 2014, according to the New York Times. After several weeks of texting in which she suggested ways for Roy to commit suicide and explicitly told him to do it, he drove to a Kmart parking lot with the intention of killing himself by inhaling toxic fumes.
Carter was on the phone with Roy as he sat in the car, and she later texted a friend that he’d had second thoughts and gotten out of the car, at which point she told him to “get back in.”
The judge who issued Carter’s guilty verdict, Lawrence Moniz of Bristol County Juvenile Court, said that Carter displayed “wanton and reckless conduct” in her final phone call with Roy, which ultimately made her culpable for his death.
Carter’s lawyers argued that there was no hard proof that Carter had actually instructed him to get back in the car, and that it was possible she could have been lying.
The Supreme Court denied Michelle Carter’s appeal in 2020, as ABC News explains here, but she ended up getting a few months taken off of her 15-month prison sentence, according to NBC Boston. She was released in January 2020 for good behavior.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Main Image: Elle Fanning as Michelle Carter in Episode 2, “Turtles,” of The Girl From Plainville courtesy of Hulu.