Michelle Carter sentenced to serve 15 months in prison

Posted August 04, 2017

She had faced a sentence that could have ranged between probation with no prison time at the low end, up to 20 years in prison at the maximum end.

A prosecutor has urged the maximum of 20 years' imprisonment for a MA woman who sent numerous text messages urging her suicidal boyfriend to kill himself.

Roy's family told a court Thursday before Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz sentenced Carter that they were devastated by his death.

Carter, 20, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison with 15 months to serve at the Bristol County House of Correction and the remainder suspended with probation. NBC Boston will broadcast the proceedings live.

The case was heard in juvenile court because Carter, now 20, was 17 when Roy died.

The judge also noted that Carter admitted in texts that she took no action; she knew the location of the truck and did not notify Conrad Roy's mother or sisters. "It's always gonna be that way if you don't take action".

Carter's defense attorney argued Roy was suffering from depression and had demonstrated suicidal behavior before, meaning it was the victim's mental illness - not Carter's messages - that caused his death.

The Massachusetts Bar Association, however, said the conviction was well within the confines of the law.

Roy's father harsh words at the sentencing, declaring that Carter "exploited my son's weaknesses and used him as a pawn".

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Michelle Carter is found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging 18-year-old Conrad Roy III to kill himself in July 2014.

The American Civil Liberties Union of MA, which argued against Carter's prosecution, said there is no criminal statute against encouraging someone to kill themselves.

The judge granted Carter a stay of her sentence during the appeals process, meaning she won't report to prison until all her state appeals are exhausted.

The verdict sent immediate shockwaves across the country and drew opposing stances from experts in the legal community.

"I pray to God you will take into consideration that Michelle was a troubled, vulnerable teenager in an extremely hard situation and made a tragic mistake", he wrote to Judge Moniz.

The prosecution asked the judge to revoke bail, but the judge ruled that she could remain free on bail until her sentencing.

The case has been closely watched as a possible avenue for the creation of laws to punish those who might pressure another person into suicide. "You did something wrong, but on the other hand I understand you were a troubled teen yourself and this is going to scar you for the rest of your life".

While the judge did not give credence to the psychiatrist's contention in his verdict, it is likely that he will consider Carter's mental health issues and medication as mitigating factors in the sentencing, Medwed said.

"She has not accepted responsibility", she said. The implications of this conviction go far beyond the tragic circumstances of Mr. Roy's death.