A court ruled on appeal that Michelle Carter will serve a fifteen month sentence behind bars for encouraging her now-deceased boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to take this life in 2014.
The court has ruled that 22-year-old Michelle Carter will serve her full sentence. Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for sending text messages to her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, that ultimately encouraged him to take his own life. She is set to serve fifteen months of a two-and-a-half-year sentence, a term which was previously suspended while the Supreme Judicial Court reviewed her appeal.
18-year-old Roy, Carter’s had filled his parked vehicle with carbon monoxide from a generator hooked up to it. At one point, he stepped out of the truck and Carter texted him “get back in.”
Upon sentencing, Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz stated, “I have not found that Ms. Carter’s age or level of maturity or even her mental illness have any significant impact on her actions,” Moniz said, although Carter does take psychiatric medication. “She was mindful of the actions for which she now stands convicted.”
The defense argued that Carter’s verbal conduct via the text messages was protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment Roy 2014 death was caused by his own actions. However, the court confirmed that the young woman’s persuasion of a “vulnerable person” urged Roy to take action.
“No more pushing it off. No more waiting,” she also texted him. Adding after Roy expressed concern over his family’s reaction to his death, “they will get over it and move on.”
A final set of text messages regarding the family read, “They won’t be in depression I won’t let that happen. They know how sad you are, and they know that you’re doing this to be happy, and I think they will understand and accept it. The time is right and you’re ready, you just need to do it! You can’t keep living this way.”
“The crime of involuntary manslaughter proscribes reckless or wanton conduct causing the death of another. The statute makes no reference to restricting or regulating speech, let alone speech of a particular content or viewpoint,” the court ruling stated. “We are therefore not punishing words alone, as the defendant claims, but reckless or wanton words causing death.” It concluded, “The evidence against the defendant proved that, by her wanton or reckless conduct, she caused the victim’s death by suicide.”
Carter was just seventeen when she urged Roy, who was suicidal, to kill himself in a parking lot. She has been allowed to remain free up until this point.
At sentencing, the boy’s father, Conrad Roy Sr., made a statement to the court, saying, “Michelle Carter exploited my son’s weakness and used him as a pawn in her own well-being. How could Michelle Carter behave so viciously and encourage my son to end his life? Maybe it was her inhumanity.”
His sister, Camdyn, spoke on the stand of waking up and going to bed each day since the incident thinking of her brother. And Lynn Roy, Conrad’s mother, said in a statement read by a prosecutor, she prays her son’s death “will save lives someday.” She added, “There is not one day that I do not mourn the loss of my beloved son.”
Carter is also facing a wrongful death lawsuit seeking $4.2 million brought by Roy’s mother.