Michelle Carter, Massachusetts Teen Who Encouraged Her Friend To Commit Suicide, Sentenced To 15 Months

Michelle Carter, the Massachusetts woman who, as a teenager, encouraged her friend Conrad Roy to kill himself, has been sentenced to two and half years in prison, with only 15 months of that sentence being mandatory, the Boston Globe is reporting. In addition, Judge Lawrence Moniz sentenced Carter to five months probation, stating the other 15-month sentence would be enforced if that probation was violated.

Carter made headlines in 2015 when, as a 17-year-old, she encouraged her friend, Conrad Roy, to commit suicide.

As the Springfield Republican reported at the time, Roy and Carter had met when their families were on vacation in Florida, and their "relationship" consisted mainly of texting each other. They only met each other in person a couple of times over the years.

Roy, whose family owned a tugboat business and who himself loved boating and being on the sea, struggled with depression and anxiety, at one time having possibly tried to kill himself by overdosing on acetaminophen. Carter, on the other hand, was a popular, attractive cheerleader, whom friends described as "bubbly" and "most likely to brighten your day."

Sunday, July 13, 2014, Conrad committed suicide in the parking lot of a K-Mart. Authorities say he ran a hose from his exhaust pipe to the cab of his pickup truck, killing himself by carbon monoxide poisoning. Authorities say that Carter encouraged him, via text, to carry through with his plan to end his life, even at one time encouraging him to follow through with it when he had second thoughts.

"Get back in the truck."
Authorities believe that Carter enjoyed the sympathy she earned from being the "girlfriend" of a suicide.

Her criminal case raised questions about First Amendment rights to free speech, her criminal culpability in Roy's death (she wasn't even in the same city when he died), and her age.

Nevertheless, on On June 16, 2017, Judge Lawrence Moniz of the Bristol County Juvenile Court of Massachusetts found Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter (Carter had waived her right to a jury trial in favor of a bench trial).

On Thursday, Carter learned her fate: she was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, said Boston Globe reporter Jan Ransom, in a series of tweets from the courtroom.Carter's attorney asked that Michelle not be incarcerated while her appeals are considered, and the judge agreed. However, Carter must adhere to strict conditions while her case is appealed, including not profiting from the case (that is, writing a book about it), and not having any contact with the Roy family.

This is a developing story. More information about Michelle Carter's sentencing, and about reactions to the sentencing, including from the Roy family, will be published as soon as it becomes available.

Do you believe Michelle Carter's 2.5-year sentence is appropriate? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Featured Image by Glenn C.Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News, Pool/AP]