Michelle Carter, a 20-year-old Massachusetts woman who sent text messages to her boyfriend Conrad Roy encouraging him to commit suicide, was sentenced Thursday to 2.5 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
The prosecution had asked for a sentence of up to 20 years. “She ended his life to better her own,” the prosecution said.
During the verdict in June, Bristol Country Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz said Carter, who was tried as a juvenile because of her age at the time of Roy’s suicide, made no attempt to stop Roy, 18, from committing suicide. Roy poisoned himself by inhaling carbon monoxide while inside his pickup truck.
“She called no one, and finally she did not issue a simple additional instruction: Get out of the truck,” Moniz said. “This court has found that Carter’s actions and failure to act where it was her self-created duty to Roy since she put him in that toxic environment constituted reckless conduct … The court finds that the conduct caused the death of Mr. Roy.”
According to CNN, much of the case centered around Carter’s text messages, which prosecutors said nudged Roy toward suicide. Even when he had second thoughts of following through, Carter allegedly encouraged Roy to get back in his truck. She had also sent texts to friends saying she listened to his final words and breaths, which prosecutors argued was a move for attention.
The defense argued that Carter had been “dragged” into Roy’s longtime intent to commit suicide and was delusional, “overwhelmed” by Roy’s talk of suicide and taking a new prescription for antidepressants.
“I cannot being to describe the despair I feel over the loss of my son,” Roy’s father said at the sentencing. “I am heartbroken, our family is heartbroken. My son was my best friend.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated throughout to note Carter’s sentence.