US woman jailed for texts urging suicide
A Massachusetts woman has been sentenced to two and a half years for encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide through texts and phone calls.
Michelle Carter, now 20, will serve 15 months of her term behind bars and five years of probation.
Carter was convicted in June of the involuntary manslaughter of Conrad Roy, who took his own life on 13 July 2014.
Mr Roy’s father told Thursday’s hearing: “My family is heartbroken. My son was my best friend.”
What the texting suicide case tells us
Carter was allowed to remain free pending an appeal.
She had faced a maximum sentence of 20 years, but her legal team argued that both she and Mr Roy suffered from mental illness.
Dressed in red trousers and a cream blouse, Carter stood tearfully with hands clasped and eyes cast down as she was sentenced.
“Her actions killed Conrad Roy,” the prosecutor told the court. “She ended his life to better her own.”
“She has not accepted responsibility,” she said. “She has shown no remorse.”
But Carter’s lawyer said it was a “horrible circumstance that she completely regrets”.
Media captionHow text messages led to a suicide
However, Judge Lawrence Moniz said he did not find that her “age or level of maturity or even her mental illness have any significant impact on her actions”.
A prosecutor read a statement from Mr Roy’s mother, Lynn Roy, saying there was “not one day I do not mourn the loss of my beloved son”.
Michelle Carter: What the texting suicide case tells us
“I want him to be proud of me and how I am handling everything – I am trying to be there for his sisters in all of my pain we will carry with us for eternity,” it said.
Mr Roy’s sister, Camdyn Roy, testified that she was “haunted” by the realisation that she would never attend her brother’s wedding or be an aunt to his children.
“Not having that one person I’ve been with every day since birth is a pain I’ll always keep with me for the rest of my life,” she said.
The case appears to set a legal precedent, as there is no Massachusetts law that criminalises telling a person to commit suicide.
Carter was 17 when Mr Roy was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in a vehicle in 2014.
The case drew national attention after Carter’s text messages revealed she had encouraged him to end his life.