Supreme Court rejects appeal in high-profile texting suicide case


Woman ordered to jail in texting suicide case

The Supreme Court on Monday left in place the conviction of a Massachusetts woman who sent her boyfriend text messages urging him to kill himself. Michelle Carter is serving a 15-month sentence after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 death of her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III.

A judge determined that Carter, who was 17, caused the death of the 18-year-old Roy when she ordered him in a phone call to get back in his carbon monoxide-filled truck that he'd parked in a Kmart parking lot. The phone call wasn't recorded, but the judge relied on a text Carter sent her friend in which she said she told Roy to get back in.

In text messages sent in the days leading up to Roy's death, Carter also encouraged Roy to follow through with his suicide plan. She chastised him when he didn't, Massachusetts courts found.

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Carter's case has garnered national attention and sparked legislative proposals in Massachusetts to criminalize suicide coercion.

Carter's lawyers have said she isn't responsible for Roy's suicide. "48 Hours" covered the case in the episode, "Death by Text."

In a similar case last October, a former Boston College student was indicted on an involuntary manslaughter charge for allegedly encouraging her boyfriend to take his own life with text messages.

First published on January 13, 2020 / 10:20 AM

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