Woman Who Sent Texts Urging Boyfriend's Suicide Sentenced
Michelle Carter gets 15 months in jail
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 3, 2017 3:17 PM CDT
Michelle Carter awaits her sentencing at Taunton trial court in Taunton, Mass., Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, for involuntary manslaughter for encouraging Conrad Roy III to kill himself in July 2014.   (Matt West/The Boston Herald via AP, Pool)

(Newser) – A woman who encouraged her suicidal boyfriend to kill himself in dozens of text messages and told him to "get back in" a truck filled with toxic gas was sentenced Thursday to 15 months in jail for involuntary manslaughter, the AP reports. Michelle Carter was convicted in June by a judge who said her final instruction to Conrad Roy III caused his death. Carter was 17 when the 18-year-old Roy was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in July 2014. Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz gave Carter a 2½-year jail sentence but said she had to serve only 15 months of that. He also sentenced her to five years of probation. He granted a defense motion that would keep Carter out of jail until her appeals in Massachusetts courts are exhausted.

Carter's lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, had asked the judge to spare his client any jail time and instead give her five years of probation and require her to receive mental health counseling. Prosecutor Maryclare Flynn called probation "just not reasonable punishment" for Carter's role in Roy's death. The prosecution sought the maximum sentence of 20 years. Cataldo argued that Roy was determined to kill himself and nothing Carter did could change that. Cataldo also argued that Carter's words amounted to free speech protected by the First Amendment. In convicting Carter, the judge focused his ruling on Carter telling Roy to "get back in" after he climbed out of his truck as it was filling with carbon monoxide and told her he was afraid. The judge said those words constituted "wanton and reckless conduct" under the manslaughter statute.

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