High court upholds Michelle Carter's conviction for texts encouraging boyfriend's suicide
BOSTON, Mass. (FOX 11) - A Massachusetts woman, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after she encouraged her boyfriend's suicide through text messages, will serve her full sentence following a ruling on Wednesday by the state's high court.
Michelle Carter was convicted in June of 2017 after a judge decided that her actions greatly contributed to the death of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III. She was sentenced to serve 15-months in jail but has remained free pending her appeal.
"The crime of involuntary manslaughter proscribes reckless or wanton conduct causing the death of another. The statute makes no reference to restricting or regulating speech, let alone speech of a particular content or viewpoint," according to the high court opinion. "We are therefore not punishing words alone, as the defendant claims, but reckless or wanton words causing death."
"The evidence against the defendant proved that, by her wanton or reckless conduct, she caused the victim's death by suicide," the court stated in its ruling Wednesday. "Her conviction of involuntary manslaughter as a youthful offender is not legally or constitutionally infirm. The judgment is therefore affirmed."
Roy was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in July 2014. Carter was 17-years-old at the time of his death.
The case, which drew national attention, revolved around the couple's intimate text messages in the days before Roy's death. In the messages, Carter urged Roy to take his own life, she even told him to get back into his carbon monoxide-filled truck the day he died. The text message was one of dozens she sent him, encouraging him to kill himself.