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WATCH: Sentencing For Michelle Carter in Text Messaging Suicide Case


Sentencing is scheduled on Thursday at 2 p.m. for Michelle Carter. She’s the young Massachusetts woman convicted of involuntary manslaughter for her role in the suicide death of her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III. Roy was 18 when he died in a vehicle in a parking lot.

The LawNewz Network will carry the hearing live at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, with preview coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m. Eastern. Also, check out our analysis of the various sentencing options before the judge. Suicide victim Conrad Roy’s aunt has reportedly asked the judge for a maximum 20-year sentence for Carter; Carter’s father has asked for probation only.

A judge found Carter guilty after the Commonwealth submitted a slew of text messages between Carter and Roy into evidence. In those messages, Carter told Roy that she wouldn’t let his family feel bad about his suicide. She told him that “Tonight is the night. It’s now or never” as the planned time of the suicide approached. When Roy brought up research about failed suicide attempts, Carter told him to stop worrying and to continue his plan:

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 also advised Roy how to inhale carbon monoxide fumes in a way that would cause his death:

You will die within, like, 20 or 30 minutes all pain free.

[ . . . ]

Don’t do it in the driveway. You will be easily found. … Find a spot.

[ . . . ]

Just park your car and sit there and it will take, like, 20 minutes. It’s not a big deal.

Carter further pushed the specific method of suicide, the text revealed.

I would do the CO. That honestly is the best way and I know it’s hard to find a tank so if you could use another car or something, then do that. But next I’d try the bag or hanging. Hanging is painless and takes like a second if you do it right.

The exchanges drew national attention for their shocking content — and because they pushed the frontiers of law and technology and the nexus between free speech and the criminalization of certain forms of speech in light of First Amendment protections.

Roy: Like, why am I so hesitant lately. Like two weeks ago I was willing to try everything and now I’m worse, really bad, and I’m LOL not following through. It’s eating me inside.

Carter: You’re so hesitant because you keeping over thinking it and keep pushing it off. You just need to do it, Conrad. The more you push it off, the more it will eat at you. You’re ready and prepared. All you have to do is turn the generator on and you will be free and happy. No more pushing it off. No more waiting.

Roy. You’re right.

Roy ultimately drove to a K-Mart parking lot and carried out the suicide plan. Phone call logs would reveal Roy called Carter twice after text messages stopped. Roy was found dead the next day by authorities. Carter texted a friend that Roy had called her when he realized the carbon monoxide was “working” and that she (Carter) had told him to get back in the vehicle and continue breathing the deadly fumes.

The judge honed in on that conversation when he delivered the verdict. The judge said Carter had placed Roy in a position of harm and then failed to extract him from it, instead telling him to go back into the toxic truck. Telling someone to get back into a truck filling with carbon monoxide “constituted wanton and reckless conduct” under Massachusetts law, the judge found.

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.