Woman found guilty of sending texts urging suicide

2017-06-16 20:02
Michelle Carter. (File, AP)

Michelle Carter. (File, AP)

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Taunton - A woman who sent her boyfriend a barrage of text messages urging him to kill himself when they were both teenagers was convicted of involuntary manslaughter on Friday.

Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz found that Michelle Carter caused the death of Conrad Roy III. Carter cried as the judge explained his reasoning but remained stoic when the verdict was read.

Sobs broke out throughout the courtroom in the American state of Massachusetts when the verdict was pronounced.

Teen depression

The judge ruled that Carter, now 20, can remain free on bail but ordered her not to make any contact with Roy's family and can't leave the state. She faces a sentence of probation to 20 years in prison.

The sensational trial in Taunton offered a window into teen depression and suicide through text messages and Facebook communications.

Carter was 17 when she sent Roy dozens of messages urging him to take his own life in July 2014. Roy, 18, was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in his truck in a store parking lot in Fairhaven.

"I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you're ready...you just need to do it!" Carter wrote in one message.

Prosecutors said that in addition to bombarding Roy with text messages, Carter also gave Roy advice when he got out of the truck as he was inhaling the gas and told her he was scared. "Get back in," she told him, according to a friend who testified Carter described the conversation in a text message to her about a month after Roy died.

Substantial harm

Carter's lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, argued Roy had a history of depression and suicide attempts and was determined to end his own life. 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.

An involuntary manslaughter charge can be brought in Massachusetts when someone causes the death of another person when engaging in reckless or wanton conduct that creates a high degree of likelihood of substantial harm.

Carter and Roy met in Florida in 2012 while visiting relatives. Their relationship largely consisted of text messages and emails.
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