A 20-year-old Massachusetts woman by the name of Michelle Carter has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter over a series of texts that a court deemed encouraged her boyfriend to commit suicide.
According to CNN, prosecutors argued during Carter’s trial that, in 2014, she sent her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy “numerous text messages urging him to commit suicide, listened over the phone as he suffocated, and failed to alert authorities or his family that he’d died.”
Prosecutors also argued that Carter used Roy’s death “to get from friends the attention that she desperately craved.”
Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz agreed with the claims, presenting Carter’s lack of action as part of his rationale for the guilty verdict.
“This court has found that Carter’s actions and failure to act where it was her self-created duty to Roy since she put him in that toxic environment constituted reckless conduct,” Moniz said. “The court finds that the conduct caused the death of Mr. Roy.”
Carter cried as Moniz made his statement.
See Moniz’s verdict below.
According to CNN, Roy’s family is happy with Moniz’s findings.
“This has been a very tough time for our family and we would just like to process this verdict that we are happy with,” said Roy’s father.
Prosecutor Katie Rayburn, meanwhile, stated, “although we are very pleased with the verdict, in reality there are no winners here. Two families had been torn apart and will be affected by this for years to come. We hope [the] verdict will bring some closure. It’s been an extremely emotionally draining process for everyone involved.”
According to Rolling Stone, Carter has been set free on bail until her August 3rd sentencing.
Because the crime took place when she was 17, Carter was tried as a youth offender and faces up to 20 years in prison.
As part of her bail agreement, she cannot contact Roy’s family, leave Massachusetts without a judge’s approval, or apply to receive a passport.
This case drew considerable national attention and raised plenty of debate concerning the legality and ethical considerations related to “suicide via text.”
“I was surprised that her despicable behavior constituted manslaughter,” said law professor Daniel Medwed to Rolling Stone.
“But I’m not shocked because what she did was so reprehensible that a judge wanted to hold her accountable.”
Medwed went on to speculate that legislators will likely pass a law criminalizing suicide to avoid prosecutors taking advantage of this case to pursue manslaughter charges in other instances.
“That’s a good thing,” he said. “We should have a law that governs this behavior. Manslaughter was always an ill-fitting suit.”
Meanwhile online, reaction to the verdict is positive.
— The Instructor (@Geezywop) June 16, 2017
Words have power. She meant to do harm. That was the right decision.
— NaNoToPiA (@Greytopia) June 16, 2017
My first thought was…..good. Got that one right.
— John Maczko (@JohnnyRadio) June 16, 2017
Good. She's not even human. What she did = the most vile people in history.
— G🤥P Godless Old Pedophiles (@azstudigital) June 16, 2017
They got it right
— Zac Showalter (@zacshow58) June 16, 2017
Old enough to do the crime, old enough to do the time… she's evil AF… throw the book at her
— Sara Smith (@plrbrs) June 16, 2017
The right call. Will be very interesting to hear the Ct of Appeals and possibly Supr.Ct's reasoning. Important precedent being set RN
— Adam Carr (@carrlawsc) June 16, 2017
Good.What a evil woman/person.
Men you really need to beware of the women you let into your heart especially when they're rotten to the core
— Realtalk247 (@realtalk2472) June 16, 2017
Evil has a grip here…She needs to pray
— Gia Pacella (@pet1713) June 16, 2017
Good. This wasn't a slippery slope for me. Very clear cut. Two families destroyed. Sad.
— EK Keratsis (@EKeratsis) June 16, 2017
— David Jackson (@DavidJackson97) June 16, 2017
yet personal ACTIONS get Hung Juries.. wtf America..
— Michael Lerch (@mungonna8) June 16, 2017
ABSOLUTELY the right verdict. But for her text messages telling him to get back in the vehicle, he would have stayed out. He was afraid.
— Don't wash your pits in the river of Sacred Tears (@MaestraOogway) June 16, 2017
It wasn't her life to choose… glad she will get punishment.
— Pablo Fodor (@PabloFodor) June 16, 2017