Michelle Carter’s boyfriend Conrad Roy III committed suicide in July 2014 after the pair exchanged a series of text messages in which she encouraged him to end his life and did not alert the authorities after he set his death in motion. That was just over three years ago, a span of time itself a little longer than the 2.5 year sentence Carter was handed today by the Bristol County Juvenile Court. The two-and-a-half-year term will be split between 15 months in prison and 15 months suspended. After her release, she will have a period of supervised probation.
Rather than setting an example with the hefty 20 year maximum prison sentence, the court decided instead to blending punishment and rehabilitation, due to Carter’s young age at the time of the crime. She was seventeen then. By the time she was convicted in June, she had turned 20 years old. “This court must and has balanced between rehabilitation, the promise that rehabilitation would work and a punishment for the actions that have occurred,” said Judge Moniz.
Roy’s father harsh words at the sentencing, declaring that Carter “exploited my son’s weaknesses and used him as a pawn.” He may have been hoping for a harsher sentence, but some may instead see the case, which set a legal precedent, used as the basis for legislation pertaining to other cases in which one person coerces another into committing suicide. There are already similar laws in 40 states. Roy’s mother encouraged that outcome, and hopes it “will save lives some day.”
If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally or having thoughts of suicide, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) at any time.