The girlfriend who coerced her teenage boyfriend to commit suicide had asked for his ashes when she attended the funeral, according to the man’s aunt who spoke to “20/20” in an interview aired on Friday, Aug. 4.
Michelle Carter, 20, was found guilty in June of involuntary manslaughter for urging her 18-year-old boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to kill himself in a parking lot about 60 miles south of Boston. She was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison on Thursday.
Roy’s aunt, Kim Bozzi, told “20/20” that Carter also asked to go through Roy’s room and take some of his things. According to Bozzi, the victim’s mother thought that Carter “was just an acquaintance of Conrad’s, nothing more.”
Bozzi, who hoped Carter would receive the maximum prison sentence of 20 years, said that the 20-year-old “has a damaged moral code.”
“I don’t think she helped him kill himself. I think she forced him to kill himself,” Bozzi said.
“I think she was responsible for his death. I think if it wasn’t for her, he’d still be here,” she said.
The verdict, which marked the first time in the state a person had been found guilty of manslaughter only for words, was handed down by Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz after Carter opted against a jury trial.
The trial highlighted the dangers of cyberbullying and raised concerns among civil liberties advocates who argued that prosecutors and the judge overreached by finding Carter guilty for her speech.
Moniz said he weighed Carter‘s age at the time of the crime, when she was three weeks shy of her 18th birthday, in deciding her sentence.
“I have not found that Ms. Carter‘s age or level of maturity or even her mental illness have any significant impact on her actions,” Moniz said. “She was mindful of the actions for which she now stands convicted.”
Moniz said the first 15 months of Carter‘s sentence would be served in prison, with the balance suspended. He agreed to a defense request to allow Carter to remain out of prison until her appeal options in state courts were exhausted.
Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 7 to 12 years in prison, while defense attorneys sought five years’ probation.
Before her sentence was handed down, Roy’s father, also named Conrad Roy, told the court that he believed Carter, of Plainville, had exploited his son.
“Michelle Carter exploited my son’s weakness and used him as a pawn in her own well being,” Roy said. “How could Michelle Carter behave so viciously and encourage my son to end his life? Maybe it was her inhumanity.”
Roy’s mother, Lynn, has filed a $4.2 million lawsuit for the wrongful death of her son against Carter. The sum was determined to be fair compensation for lost wages Roy would have earned had he lived. Shortly before his death, he obtained a captain’s license.
Moniz focused on messages she sent to Roy as he sat in his parked truck in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, as it filled with carbon monoxide from a generator he had hooked up to it. Roy, of Mattapoisett, briefly left the vehicle after he began to be overwhelmed by the fumes but returned afterCarter urged him to “get back in.”
Roy had previously attempted suicide and Carter had taken psychiatric medication, according to trial testimony.
Reuters contributed to this report.