Michelle Carter, who as a teenager sent texts urging her then-boyfriend to commit suicide, was sentenced today to 2.5 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, with 15 months to be served and the rest suspended, followed by five years of probation.
In announcing Carter’s sentencing, Judge Lawrence Moniz said that she could stay free pending appeals.
Conrad Roy III was 18 when he died in July 2014 of carbon monoxide poisoning after locking himself in his truck in Massachusetts.
Carter, now 20, who was Roy’s girlfriend at the time of his death, went on trial this year, and the prosecution argued that Carter, then 17, was reckless and caused his death by telling Roy to get back in the car even though they say he didn’t want to die.
“I could’ve stopped him,” Carter texted a classmate two months after Roy’s death, according to testimony. Carter texted that she and Roy were on the phone the day of his suicide when Roy “got out of the car … he was scared.” Carter texted that she “told him to get back in.”
The defense claimed that Carter had previously tried to talk Roy out of harming himself, pointing to one conversation where Roy told Carter he regretted dragging her into his plans to kill himself.
Earlier today, the prosecution asked Moniz to sentence Carter to seven to 12 years in prison.
“She ended his life to better her own,” the prosecution said, adding that Carter has not accepted responsibility for her actions.
Meanwhile, earlier today the defense asked for five years of supervised probation with conditions including mental health treatment and no contact with the Roy family. Her defense attorney added that Carter regrets what happened and stressed that the sentence should be rehabilitative, not punitive.
Conrad Roy’s sister, Camden Roy, gave a statement in court today ahead of the sentencing, calling her brother the best friend and role model “any little sister could ask for.”
Conrad Roy’s father, Conrad Roy Jr., said in court before sentencing, “I cannot being to describe the despair I feel over the loss of my son. … I am heartbroken, our family is heartbroken. My son was my best friend.”
He called his son sensitive, loving, compassionate and an excellent older brother who was “adored” by his sisters.
“How could Michelle Carter behave so viciously?” he said. “Where was her humanity?”