Michelle Carter, the Massachusetts native who was convicted several weeks ago of involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 suicide of her boyfriend, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison today.
She is only expected to serve 15 months, however, as a judge declared the rest of her sentence suspended.
Moreover, Carter will not begin serving her term until her potential appeal is resolved, a judge ruled this afternoon.
Carter’s case has garnered national headlines due to its unusual nature.
While the way Carter acted toward Conrad Roy three years ago was undeniable despicable, questions have been raised over whether she ought to be held legally responsible for his death.
In July of 2014, Roy locked himself in his truck and committed suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning.
The incident took place after Carter, who was 17 years old at the time, urged Roy – through text messages and phone conversations – to take his own life.
She was even on the phone with him, encouraging the 18-year old, who had a history of mental illness, to remain his pickup truck as it filled with the deadly gas while it was parked near a store.
Altogether, it is believed Carter sent Roy over 1,000 text messages during their relationship.
Among the most damaging were messages such as the following:
- You always say you’re gonna do it, but you never do. I just want to make sure tonight is the real thing.
- You just have to do it.
- It’s painless and quick.
Authorities also discovered Carter’s written admission to a friend in which she thought back a phone call with Roy, who had exited his truck as it filled with toxic fumes.
He told her that he was frightened and didn’t want to abandon his family.
“Get back in,” Carter said she told him.
In June, Massachusetts Judge Lawrence Moniz found Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter, describing her behavior as “reckless.”
While confirming the verdict, Moniz said that Carter instructed Roy “to get back into the truck well knowing of all of the feelings he [had] exchanged with her, his ambiguities, his fears, his concerns.”
During the case, prosecutors asked for Carter to receive between seven and 12 years in prison, while Carter’s lawyer recommended five years of supervised probation and mental health counseling.
According to court documents, Carter and Roy had been texting about death for many weeks leading up to the suicide, The Washington Post has written.
Per the newspaper, in one message, Carter (pictured below) wrote:
“You’re finally going to be happy in heaven. No more pain. It’s OK to be scared and it’s normal. I mean, you’re about to die.”
In a statement read in court prior to sentencing, Conrad’s mother, Lynn Roy, wrote the following:
“There is not one day that I do not mourn the loss of my beloved son.”
Added his father:
“Michelle Carter exploited my son’s weaknesses and used him as a pawn. How could Michelle Carter behave so viscously and encourage my son to end his life? Where was her humanity?”
In announcing today’s sentencing, Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz said:
“This court must and has balanced between rehabilitation, the promise that rehabilitation would work and a punishment for the actions that have occurred.”
If you or someone you know is showing warning signs of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK.
You can also text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or seek help from a professional.