A woman who was convicted of encouraging her boyfriend’s suicide was sentenced on Feb. 11 and was taken into custody after the Massachusetts high court upheld her involuntary manslaughter conviction.
Michelle Carter, 22, has to serve her 15-month prison term immediately, said Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz, according to NBC News.
“This case, legally, is not over,” defense lawyer Joseph Cataldo said in front of the judge. “We fully intend to file an appeal to the United States Supreme Court within the next 90 days.”
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld her conviction and said her actions killed Conrad Roy III, who was her boyfriend when he killed himself in 2014.
“After she convinced him to get back into the carbon monoxide filled truck, she did absolutely nothing to help him: she did not call for help or tell him to get out of the truck as she listened to him choke and die,” Supreme Judicial Court Justice Scott Kafker said, reported Fox News.
Her lawyers said they will now take Carter’s case to the Supreme Court. They noted that she has no prior criminal record, didn’t try to flee, and was getting mental health treatment.
Carter was a 17-year-old when she persuaded Roy, who was 18, to kill himself via dozens of text messages and calls, prosecutors said. He died after his truck filled up with carbon monoxide in a parking lot.
“You can’t think about it. You just have to do it. You said you were gonna do it. Like I don’t get why you aren’t,” Carter wrote in a text.
On the day he died, she wrote: “You keep pushing it off and say you’ll do it but u never do. It’s always gonna be that way if u don’t take action.”
She also told him that he is “finally going to be happy in heaven. No more pain. It’s okay to be scared and it’s normal. I mean, you’re about to die.”
When she was taken away by bailiffs on Feb. 11, Carter showed no emotion. Family members reacted to the sentencing.
“Justice has been served,” said Becki Maki, Roy’s aunt, as NBC reported.
Michelle Carter is taken into custody to start her 15 month prison sentence for encouraging her boyfriend via text messages to kill himself https://t.co/TeviE93u0Q
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) February 11, 2019
“This is something that shouldn’t happen. And hopefully, it won’t ever happen again.”
But Daniel Marx, who argued the case before Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said a week ago that the court’s ruling “stretches the law to assign blame for a tragedy that was not a crime,” WBUR reported.
“It has very troubling implications, for free speech, due process, and the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, that should concern us all,” he continued.
If you are in an emergency in the U.S. or Canada, please call 911. You can phone the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1 800 273 8255. Youth can call the Kids Help Phone on 1800 668 6868.
In Australia, the suicide prevention telephone hotline at Lifeline is 13 11 14. You can also visit the Lifeline website at lifeline.org.au. Youth can contact the Kids Helpline by phoning 1800 551 800 or visiting headspace.org.au/yarn-safe