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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules on sentence of Michelle Carter in texting suicide case , DA issues statement

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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled in the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Michelle Carter who encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself in text messages.

The Court upheld the ruling this morning and rejected her appeal and stated that the evidence in the case proved that Carter’s actions caused the death of Conrad Roy.

Carter has been out on appeal since she was sentenced to serve 15 months.

The ruling states as follows:

At age seventeen, Michelle Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter as a youthful offender for the suicide death of Conrad Roy, age eighteen. In Commonwealth v. Carter, 474 Mass. 624 (2016) (Carter I), we affirmed the Juvenile Court judge’s denial of the motion to dismiss the youthful offender indictment, “conclud[ing] that there was probable cause to show that the coercive quality of the defendant’s verbal conduct overwhelmed whatever willpower the eighteen year old victim had to cope with his depression, and that but for the defendant’s admonishments, pressure, and instructions, the victim would not have gotten back into [his] truck and poisoned himself to death.”

According to Gregg Miliote of the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, due to the ruling, the Office will be filing a motion to the juvenile court requesting that the stay of sentence be revoked and the jail sentence be imposed. The motion with the court is expected to be filed in the coming days.

Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn issued a statement on this morning’s ruling:

“We are very pleased that the SJC affirmed the conviction of Michelle Carter.”

“This case is a tragedy for all of the people impacted by this case.”

“However, as the court found in two separate decisions, her conduct was wanton and reckless, and caused the death of Conrad Roy. This was clearly established during the trial through the voluminous text messages sent between several parties in this case.”

“As the court stated, the defendant herself admitted that she caused the death of Conrad Roy by her own conduct. The court found there was “no doubt in this case that the defendant wantonly or recklessly instructed the victim to kill himself, and that her instructions caused his death.”

“The court further found that, “The only verbal conduct punished as involuntary manslaughter has been the wanton or reckless pressuring of a vulnerable person to commit suicide by overpowering that person’s will to live and results in that person’s death……We are therefore not punishing words alone, (as the defendant claims), but reckless or wanton words causing death.”

“This type of conduct has long been a crime in Massachusetts. ”

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