Supreme Court rejects appeal by woman convicted in texting suicide case

Michelle Carter’s conviction for pressuring her boyfriend to commit suicide in text messages stands after the Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal Monday. 

Texting suicide

In a case that stunned America, prosecutors detailed how the then-17-year-old Carter sent 18-year-old Conrad Roy III numerous text messages encouraging him to kill himself in 2014. “You keep pushing it off and say you’ll do it but u never do,” Carter complained in one of the messages. “It’s always gonna be that way if u don’t take action.”

During her trial, prosecutors revealed that on the night that he died, Roy at one point crawled out of his carbon dioxide-filled truck, but Carter sent a message demanding that he get back into it.

Carter’s defense attorney, Daniel Marx, characterized his client as “a misguided teen” who wasn’t responsible for her boyfriend’s “tragic decision.”

“There’s no evidence to suggest she thought what she was doing was pushing him into killing himself,” the New York Daily News quoted Marx as saying.

“Actively prevented others from intervening”

On the other hand, prosecutors argued that Carter was well aware of Roy’s emotional state and used “significant leverage” to manipulate it.

In the end, she was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and in 2017 was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison — 15 months served and the rest suspended, followed by five years probation. She turned to the United States Supreme Court for relief after Massachusetts’ Supreme Court let her conviction stand.

“The trial judge’s verdict and the [state supreme court] affirmance leave no doubt that Carter was convicted for her words alone — what she said and failed to say to Roy. Carter neither provided Roy with the means of his death nor physically participated in his suicide,” Marx said in a petition to the nation’s highest court.

Carter was denied early parole by the Massachusetts Parole Board, who expressed concern “that Ms. Carter not only encouraged Mr. Conrad [Roy] to take his own life, she actively prevented others from intervening in his suicide.”

“Ms. Carter’s self-serving statements and behavior, leading up to after his suicide, appear to be irrational and lacked sincerity,” board members complained. “Release does not meet the legal standard,” they concluded.

Roy’s aunt, Kim Bozzi, told ABC’s 20/20 that she held Carter “responsible” for her nephew’s death. Bozzi had hoped for a longer sentence, saying, “I believe she should be kept far away from society.”

Early release

While her appeal may have been denied, Carter is set to be released early for good behavior. According to the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department, she will be released on Jan. 23 after serving less than a year in prison.

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