BOSTON (AP) – A young woman who as a teenager encouraged her boyfriend through dozens of text messages to kill himself is responsible for his suicide, Massachusetts highest court ruled Wednesday in upholding her involuntary manslaughter conviction.  The Supreme Judicial Court said in a unanimous decision in the novel case that Michelle Carter's actions caused Conrad Roy III to be in a truck filled with toxic gas in a deserted parking lot nearly five years ago.
"After she convinced him to get back to the carbon monoxide filled truck, she did absolutely nothing to help him: she did not call for help or tell him to get out of the truck as she listened to him choke and die, "Justice Scott Kafker wrote.
Carter's lawyers said in an email they are disappointed in the ruling and will consider appealing to the US Supreme Court, among other legal options. Carter, now 22, was sent to 15 months in jail, but has been free while she pursues her appeals.
"Today's decision stretches the law to assign blame for a tragedy that was not a crime. for free speech, due process, and the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, that should concern us all, "said Attorney Daniel Marx, who argued the case before the high court.
A spokesman for the Bristol County District Attorney's office said it will "The case is a tragedy for all of the people impacted on this case," District Attorney Thomas Quinn III said. said in a statement. "However, as the court found in two separate decisions, here was wason and reckless, and caused the death of Conrad Roy."
Carter and Roy both lived in Massachusetts but with in Florida in 2012 while both were on vacation with their families. Their relationship consisted mainly of texting and other electronic communications. Both teens struggled with depression. Carter was also treated for anorexia, and Roy had made earlier suicide attempts.
Carter was 17 when Roy, 18, took his own life in Fairhaven, a town on Massachusetts' south coast in July 2014. Her case raised thorny legal
"I wanted to do this. The time is right and you're ready – just the babe," Carter wrote in one message. 19659002] "It's okay to be scared and it's normal. I mean, you're about to die," she wrote in another.
The juvenile court judge who convicted Carter in 2017 said she caused Roy's death when she went to get back in after he climbed out of his truck when it was filling with carbon monoxide, counting her was scared. The judge said Carter had a duty to call the police or Roy's family when she knew he was killing himself
Carter's lawyers told the Supreme Judicial Court only evidence Carter instructed Roy to get back in the truck was a long, rambling text she was late for a friend two months later in which she called Roy's death her fault.
They also argued she can't be convicted because of her words alone, not she was with him when he killed himself and didn't provide him with the means to do it. Her attorney said during the hearing in October that there was no evidence it would have made a difference if she had called for help, arguing she didn't even know where his truck was parked.
"We can all see from the text messages that Michelle Carter did not force Conrad Roy to kill himself, "Marx said at the time.
But the court rejected Carter's argument that she's being punished for protected free speech. The justices said Carter preyed on Roy's "well-known weaknesses, fears, anxieties and promises" and overcame the "mentally ill, vulnerable" young man's will to live.
"We are not punishing words alone, as the defendant claims. , but reckless or wanton words causing death, "Kafker wrote.