Michelle Carter was 17 years old when she encouraged her 18-year-old boyfriend to commit suicide through carbon monoxide poisoning in July 2014. After being found guilty on the charge of involuntary manslaughter, Carter was sentenced Thursday to two-and-a-half years in prison. The judge could have given her up to 20 years in prison.
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Conrad Roy was described as a troubled young man during Carter’s trial. The defense tried to argue that Carter also suffered from mental health issues, and this led to her inhumane comments and actions during her boyfriend’s time of need.
The court didn’t agree with the defense and before sentencing Carter, the judge said: “I have not found that her age or level of maturity or even her mental illness, have any significant impact on her actions. She is bright young lady, did well In school.”
The sentence of two-and-a-half years was a far cry from what prosecutors were asking for and the family was hoping for. During Carter’s trial in June, prosecutors asked the judge for a 7-to-12 year prison sentence.
The family of Roy, who spoke at the sentencing Thursday, asked for the maximum sentence of 20 years for Carter’s hand in his death. The judge argued that it was her young age and possibility of rehabilitation that influenced his more lenient sentence.
“The fact that [Carter is] still at that young age offers a greater promise of rehabilitation,” the judge said moments before reading the sentence.
Text messages were disclosed in the court proceedings that showed Carter told Roy to “get back in” the truck which was filled with toxic gas. “You can’t think about it. You just have to do it. You said you were gonna do it. Like I don’t get why you aren’t,” another text message read.
Members of Roy’s family expressed their dismay at the things Carter had said to Roy with many breaking down and crying as they read their written statements. “I will never be an aunt to Conrad’s children, he was my best friend,” Condrad’s sister Camden read.
“We all felt he was heading in the right direction and over the worst of it,’ the father read regarding his son’s battle with depression. “He had such a bright future and Michelle Carter exploited my son’s weaknesses.”
Since Carter was tried as a youth, the judge could have put her into Department of Youth Services facility until she turned 21 but felt jail was the best option for her.