15-Month Prison Term in MA Social Media Suicide Case

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Michelle Carter was sentenced to 15 months in prison in Massachusetts for convincing her high school boyfriend to kill himself through a series of texts and phone calls, the Boston Herald reports. In June, Moniz found Carter, now 20, guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the death of Conrad Roy III. Carter will remain free while she pursues an appeal. “I believe she should be kept far away from society,” wrote Kim Bozzi, Roy’s aunt, in a victim impact statement. David Carter, Michelle’s father, begged for probation and “continued counselling.” Prosecutors sought between seven and 12 years incarceration. Carter’s defense attorney, Joseph Cataldo, asked for a sentence of five years supervised probation with conditions including mental-health counseling. 

Moniz found that Carter caused Roy, 18, to kill himself even though she was miles away and communicating through calls and texts. Carter’s relationship with Roy was almost entirely virtual. Prosecutors showed that the two teens would regularly talk about suicide through texts, and in the days leading up to Roy’s death, Carter encouraged him to go through with it. In 2014, he took his own life in a Kmart parking lot by filling his truck with deadly carbon monoxide gas. Before he died, Roy left the truck. At that point, Carter and Roy spoke on the phone and she told him to get back in – and he did. Moniz said that moment was what led him to find Carter guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The American Civil Liberties Union contended that Carter’s conviction was improper because “it exceeds the limits of our criminal laws and violates free speech protections guaranteed by the Massachusetts and U.S. Constitutions.”

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