McGovern: Judge's ruling finds Michelle Carter's words killed Conrad Roy

Michelle Carter Found Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter for Urging Boyfriend to Suicide

Though It's incredibly rare for a court to hold another person's words responsible for someone's suicide, the court determined today that Michelle Carter, 20, was legally responsible for the July 2014 incident, which resulted in the death by suicide of Conrad Roy III, 18.

The guilty verdict came as a surprise to legal scholars, theNew York Times reported Friday, particularly because in MA it's not illegal to encourage someone toward suicide, and because Carter wasn't physically present when Roy died.

Moniz agreed with the prosecution, saying Friday that "Ms. Carter's actions, and also her failure to act, where she had a self-created duty to Mr. Roy, since she had put him into that toxic environment, constituted, each and all, wanton and reckless conduct".

The prosecution claimed Carter, then 17, was reckless and caused his death by telling Roy to get back in the vehicle even though they say he didn't want to die.

New York Times reports that Michelle and Conrad had built a virtual relationship largely on texting from 2012 to 2014, and she encouraged him to seek treatment for his depression. She argued that Carter used Roy's death to get attention and sympathy, and was trying to play the role of a "grieving girlfriend".

The judge ruled that Carter can remain free on bail but ordered not to make any contact with Roy's family.

Carter's sentence could range from probation to 20 years in prison.

Top Massachusetts attorneys have mixed opinions about the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Michelle Carter, but they agree on one thing - the ruling has caused a seismic shift in the intersection of technology and the law.

The judge set sentencing for August 3.

"It's a new day and age, your honor, and the phones that we have now allow you to be virtually present with somebody", Rayburn said. Attorneys for the defense said both teens had a history of depression, and Roy had previously attempted to take his life by overdosing on acetaminophen.

"Knowing, or at least having the state of mind that 15 minutes must pass, Miss Carter took no actions".

"I thought you wanted to do this".

Roy left a suicide note addressed to Carter that was made public during her trial.

Roy and Carter had suffered emotional problems. If the judge convicts Carter of manslaughter, it could set a legal precedent in MA.

Prosecutors also pointed to texts and messages Carter sent leading up to Roy's suicide, including one that read, "I think your parents know you're in a really bad place".

He called the death of Roy "a awful tragedy" but added, that no law makes it a crime to encourage, or even persuade, someone to commit suicide.

The case is being closely watched in the legal community.



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