In a landmark decision, a Massachusetts judge has convicted Michelle Carter of involuntary manslaughter, ruling she is responsible for her high school boyfriend’s death.
Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz said Friday that Carter, now 20, who was accused of encouraging Conrad Roy III through text messages to commit suicide, created an environment to cause harm. Roy, 18, died from carbon monoxide poisoning in July 2014.
The case raised new and contentious questions: Can a person be charged and convicted in someone’s death even if she was not with the victim when he died? And can that person be found guilty of killing someone based solely on what she said in text messages?
Carter could face up to 20 years in prison. Her sentencing hearing is set for August.
Carter’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment on the verdict but told the Boston Herald he is “disappointed.”
Roy, 18, was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning July 13, 2014, in a Kmart parking lot several miles outside of Boston. He committed suicide inside his pickup using a gas-powered water pump.
He and Carter, who was 17 at the time, had been texting about death in the days and weeks leading up to Roy’s tragic suicide.
“You’re 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,” Carter wrote in one text.
Carter was later charged with involuntary manslaughter. Her case is being tried in juvenile court because she was 17 at the time of the suicide. A juvenile court judge is hearing her case after she decided to waive her right to a jury trial.
SOURCE: Lindsey Bever and Kristine Phillips
The Washington Post