A Massachusetts woman who sent her suicidal boyfriend a barrage of text messages urging him to kill himself has been taken into custody to start her 15-month prison sentence nearly five years after he died. Michelle Carter, 22, was taken into custody on Monday after a top court last week upheld her manslaughter conviction in the 2014 death of her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy III. Carter was sentenced to 15 month in prison in 2017 after a judge ruled that she caused Roy’s death after telling him to ‘get back in’ his truck that was filling with toxic gas after he told her he was scared.
Her case garnered international attention and provided a disturbing look at teenage depression and suicide. Carter and Roy both struggled with depression and Roy had previously tried to kill himself. They both lived in Massachusetts but met in Florida in 2012 while both were on vacation with their families. Their relationship consisted mainly of texting and other electronic communications.
‘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,’ Carter texted him he on the day he died.
‘I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you’re ready – just do it babe,’ she wrote.
‘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 another.
But the juvenile court judge focused his guilty verdict on the fact that Carter told Roy over the phone to get back in his truck when it was filling with carbon monoxide. The judge said Carter had a duty to call the police or Roy’s family, but instead listened on the phone as he died.
Carter was 17 when Conrad Roy III was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in July 2014. The judge said Carter had a duty to call the police or Roy’s family when she knew the 18-year-old was killing himself. Conrad Roy records video about depression month before death.
At trial, Carter’s lawyer argued Carter had initially tried to talk Roy out of suicide and encouraged him to get help. Her attorney said Roy was determined to kill himself and nothing Carter did could change that. Her appellate attorneys said there was no evidence that Roy would have lived if Carter had called for help. They also argued there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that Carter told Roy to get back in his truck. Her phone call with Roy wasn’t recorded, but prosecutors pointed to a rambling text that Carter sent to a friend two months later in which she said called Roy’s death her fault and said she told Roy to ‘get back in’ the truck. Daniel Marx, who argued the case before the Supreme Judicial Court, said last week that the court’s ruling ‘stretches the law to assign blame for a tragedy that was not a crime.’
‘It has very troubling implications, for free speech, due process, and the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, that should concern us all,’ he said.