A judge, sitting without a jury, found that a barrage of messages sent by Michelle Carter when she was aged 17 and 18, had persuaded her teenage boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, to take his own life, by means of carbon monoxide poisoning.
One crucial message, highlighted by Judge Lawrence Moniz, was delivered by Carter to Mr Roy after he climbed out of his vehicle after getting scared. “Get back in,” she told him.
“She admits in subsequent texts that she did nothing, she did not call the police or Mr Roy’s family,” Mr Moniz told the court in the city of Taunton, as he explained his reasoning. “She did not notify his mother or sister. And finally, she did not issue a simple additional instruction: ‘Get out of the truck’.”
The judge then asked Carter to get to her feet as he delivered his verdict and she stood there sobbing. “This court, having reviewed the evidence, finds you guilty on the indictment with involuntary manslaughter,” he said.
The case had sparked intense debate among legal experts and many had anticipated that Carter would be cleared.
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Unlike many other states, Massachusetts has no law against encouraging suicide. In addition, Carter was not present when Mr Roy took his life.
Carter’s defence lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, had argued that Mr Roy had a history of depression and suicide attempts and was determined to end his own life. He said Carter initially tried to talk Mr Roy out of it and urged him to get professional help, but eventually went along with his plan, according to the Associated Press.
But the prosecution presented a mass of…