Girlfriend who urged suicide given 15 months
Michelle Carter, 20, was found guilty of manslaughter.
A young woman who as a teenager encouraged her suicidal boyfriend to kill himself in dozens of text messages and told him to “get back in” a truck filled with toxic gas was sentenced Thursday to 15 months in jail for involuntary manslaughter.
Michelle Carter was convicted in June by a judge who said her final instruction to Conrad Roy III caused his death. Carter was 17 when Roy, who was 18, was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in July 2014.
Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz gave Carter, now 20, a 2½-year jail sentence but said she had to serve only 15 months. He also sentenced her to five years of probation.
He granted a defense motion that will keep Carter out of jail until her appeals in state courts are exhausted.
Moniz called the case, which has garnered international attention, “a tragedy for two families.”
Carter’s lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, asked the judge to spare her any jail time and instead give her five years of probation and require her to receive mental health counseling. He said she was struggling with bulimia, anorexia and depression during the time she urged Roy to kill himself.
“Miss Carter will have to live with the consequences of this for the rest of her life,” Cataldo said. “This was a horrible circumstance that she completely regrets.”
Prosecutor Maryclare Flynn called probation “just not reasonable punishment” for Carter’s role in Roy’s death. She asked the judge to send Carter to state prison for seven to 12 years.
Flynn said Carter “undertook a deliberate, wellthought-out campaign” to cause Roy’s death in a “quest for attention” and sympathy from her friends. She said after Roy’s death, Carter put on a charade as “the grieving girlfriend” for Roy’s family and friends, even though she had repeatedly pressured him to act on his suicidal thoughts.
Flynn said Carter could have stopped Roy because the two teenagers were on the phone together as Roy succumbed to carbon monoxide inside his truck.
“All she had to do was say, ‘Get out of the car,’ ‘Get out of the truck,’ and none of us would be here right now,” Flynn said.
In dozens of text messages, Carter had urged Roy to follow through on his talk of taking his own life.
“The time is right and you are ready ... just do it babe,” Carter wrote in a text the day he killed himself.
Cataldo argued Roy was determined to kill himself and nothing Carter did could change that. He said Carter initially tried to talk Roy out of it and urged him to get professional help but eventually went along with his plan.
In convicting Carter, the judge focused his ruling on Carter telling Roy to “get back in” after he climbed out of his truck as it was filling with carbon monoxide and told her he was afraid.
The judge said those words constituted “wanton and reckless conduct” under the manslaughter statute.
‘All she had to do was say, “Get out of the car,” “Get out of the truck,” and none of us would be here right now.’ Maryclare Flynn Prosecutor
Michelle Carter awaits her sentencing in a courtroom in Taunton, Mass., on Thursday for involuntary manslaughter for encouraging Conrad Roy III to kill himself in his truck in July 2014.