Home / U.S. / Michelle Carter, sentenced for forcing her boyfriend to commit suicide through text messages, goes to jail

Michelle Carter, sentenced for forcing her boyfriend to commit suicide through text messages, goes to jail

Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in June 2017 after a judge determined that his messages to Conrad Roy III convinced him to commit suicide.
The judge of the Bristol County juvenile court, Lawrence Moniz, sentenced Carter to 15 months in jail in August 2017, but he allowed her to remain free while she appealed her conviction.
In a ruling this month, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld Carter's conviction and said the evidence showed that his conduct caused Roy's death by suicide.

On Monday, officers removed Carter from the courtroom in Taunton, Mass., After Moniz accepted the Commonwealth request to revoke the suspension of his sentence.

The case raised questions about freedom of expression about whether a person should be responsible through their words for the actions of another person.

Conrad Roy III
Carter's lawyers said they filed an emergency motion on Monday to ask for the suspension of their sentence to be extended while she appeals her conviction to the US Supreme Court.

"The Roy family is happy that this aspect of the case is over," family lawyer Eric S. Goldman said in a statement. The family continues to file a civil claim for damages and hopes to establish a fund on behalf of their son to educate people about suicide prevention.

Carter was 17 when Roy, 18, died in July 2014. The case was based on text messages between the two in which Carter urged Roy to commit suicide.

Prosecutors argued that Carter heard over the phone while Roy was choking on carbon monoxide inhalation in his truck and did not notify his parents or authorities when he died.

Carter's lawyers argued that his words that encouraged Roy's suicide, "however unpleasant they were for this court, were a protected speech."

"Massachusetts would be the only state to maintain an involuntary manslaughter conviction where an absent defendant, with just words, encouraged another person to commit suicide," the attorneys said in their motion.

In the February 6 ruling, the state's highest court ruled that Carter "helped plan how, where and when" Roy would commit suicide. Carter "played down" Roy's fears about how his death by suicide would affect his family, the judges said, and "repeatedly reprimanded him for his indecision."

Carter's lawyer said earlier this month that the ruling confirming the conviction was based on a narrative that the evidence did not support.

"Today's decision stretches the law to blame a tragedy that was not a crime, it has very worrying implications, freedom of expression, due process and the exercise of fiscal discretion, which should concern us all," he said. lawyer Daniel Marx.

Janet DiGiacomo of CNN and Carma Hassan contributed to this story.

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