Michelle Carter, the Massachusetts woman who, as a teenager, sent text messages to her friend encouraging him to commit suicide, will be released from prison next week, The Boston Globe reports. Just last week, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear her case, though the court’s decision and Carter’s release appear to be unrelated.
Carter, 22, has been behind bars since February 2019, was ordered to begin serving a 15-month sentence after having exhausted multiple appeals and stays of her sentence. Her initial release date was scheduled for May 2019, but Jonathan Darling, a spokesperson for the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, says that her behavior in prison has earned her enough credit for an early release.
“There have been no problems and she has been attending programs, which is common at state facilities like the Bristol County House of Correction,” Darling said.
“Ms. Carter continues to attend programs, is getting along with other inmates, is polite to our staff and volunteers, and we’ve had no discipline issues at all,” he added.
The news of her impending release came on the same day the Supreme Court declined to hear her appeal. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Court’s ruling allowed her conviction to stand, meaning that she would be required to finish the remainder of her sentence, pending an early release for good behavior. The Court’s decision also meant that her conviction would remain on her record.
Barring any unforeseen problems, Carter will be released from prison on January 23.
Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after her friend, Conrad Roy, was found dead of suicide. On the night of July 13, 2014, when Carter was just 17-years-old, Roy took his own life by filling the cab of his pickup truck with carbon monoxide via a hose taped to his exhaust pipe.
During his suicide attempt, Carter and Roy exchanged multiple text messages, in which Carter urged the young man to go through with his suicide. At one point, Roy suggested he was going to call it off, but Carter told him, in a phone call, to get back into the truck.
Carter’s defense team argued that she didn’t commit a crime because she only used words, which are protected by the First Amendment.
“Carter neither provided Roy with the means of his death nor physically participated in his suicide,” her lawyers argued.
Judge Lawrence Moniz of the Bristol County Juvenile Court of Massachusetts didn’t see it that way, however, and sentenced the young woman to two-and-a-half-years, with 15 months to be served in the Bristol County House of Corrections — the rest of the balance suspended — and five years of probation.
Massachusetts lawmakers have since been working on passing “Conrad’s Law,” which would specifically make coercing someone to commit suicide a crime.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.