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Jun 15, 2018

Woman who encouraged boyfriend’s suicide appeals conviction

A woman who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after pressuring her boyfriend to take his own life has launched an appeal – saying she was engaging in ‘free speech’. Michelle Carter, 21, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison by a Massachusetts judge last June for the 2014 death of her 18-year-old long-term boyfriend Conrad Roy III, who took his own life by inhaling carbon monoxide in his truck.

In an appeal filed on June 29, Carter’s lawyers say the state used ‘cherry-picked’ text messages to uphold its allegation that Carter engaged in ‘a systematic campaign of coercion’ against Mr Roy.
They argue that ‘Carter’s words encouraging Roy’s suicide, however distasteful to this court, were protected speech’ under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

They say that a law that penalises such speech – no matter how ugly or strident it is – is unconstitutional.

Carter’s sentence has been stayed, and she has remained free from jail, while she pursues her appeal at state level. At trial, chilling text messages exchanges between the couple were revealed, in which Carter told Roy: ‘Everyone’s tried, but there is a point that comes where there isn’t anything anyone can do to save you, not even yourself.’ ‘Everyone will be sad for a while but they will get over it and move on,’ she added.

Another message said: ‘You have everything you need. There is no way you can fail. Tonight is the night. It’s now or never.’

The court also heard how Carter had told a friend via text message several months after his death that she ‘could have stopped’ Mr Roy, as she was on the phone to him at the time of his death. She told the friend that she ‘told him [Mr Roy] to get back in’ his truck, when he got out and became scared because he realised the carbon monoxide was working.

Finding Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter, Judge Lawrence Moniz said that Carter had instructed him to get back in the truck ‘well knowing of all of the feelings that he [had] exchanged with her, his ambiguities, his fears, his concerns,’ and knowing the truck was ‘becoming a toxic environment inconsistent with human life’.

Having done so, she did not attempt to call for help or save Roy, Judge Moniz found. Her actions and failure to act ‘constituted each and all wanton and reckless conduct,’ he said. Michelle Carter arrives at Taunton District Court in Taunton, Massachusetts on 16th June 2017 to hear the verdict in her trial

But Carter’s lawyers say in her appeal that there is no reliable evidence of what Carter actually said to Mr Roy on the day of his death. The text message to a friend ‘was not a contemporaneous account, but an uncorroborated “confession,”‘ made months after the event. ‘Because the judge convicted Carter for what she said, or failed to say, not what she did, this case implicates free speech under the First Amendment,’ the appeal says.
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Jul 15, 2018
I think everybody is sick in their own way. She didn't have to encourage him, but I just would've said whatevever makes you at peace. Suicide is a harsh subject, society wants to keep everyone alive when realistically, we may have been traumatized, raped, lost our family members as well. Why would I personally want to live through these scars? How can your "medicine" heal when it's making my body worse? These are the things people are going through and there are hurdles to overcome.


Jul 15, 2018
Hurdles that I know I personally, likely can't

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