Girl­friend who urged sui­cide given 15 months

Michelle Carter, 20, was found guilty of man­slaugh­ter.

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Denise Lavoie

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.

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