Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Mass ACLU: Michelle Carter conviction 'imperils free speech'


Both teens reportedly struggled with mental health issues, and in July 2014, through a series of text messages and phone calls, a then-17-year-old Carter encouraged Roy, whom she described as her boyfriend, to commit suicide.

While Roy took "significant actions of his own" to take his own life, Carter's instruction to get back in the truck constituted wanton and reckless conduct, the judge said.

"She admits in subsequent texts that she did nothing, she did not call the police or Mr. Roy's family", said Judge Lawrence Moniz.

A juvenile court judge on Friday found Michelle Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 death of Conrad Roy III.

The court heard more than 20,000 text messages exchanges were made - with more than 1,000 of those messages sent in the days leading up to Roy's death.

Rayburn says she hopes Friday's guilty verdict will bring some measure of closure to Roy's family and friends.

The judge presiding over the case reviewed extensive evidence, including thousands of text messages sent back-and-forth between the couple, and eventually ruled that Carter did little to stop Roy from putting himself in harm's way.

Carter will be sentenced on August 3 and faces up to 20 years in prison.

Carter, now 20, was freed on bail but ordered not to contact Roy's family or leave the state.

Conrad died from carbon monoxide poisoning in his truck at Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

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Carter had denied involuntary manslaughter at the trial.

"I'm done", Carter wrote in one message shown in court.

CBS News reports that Carter and Roy first met in 2012, when they were each visiting relatives in Florida. "His family will hate me and I can go to jail".

"We'd like to just process this verdict", Roy's father, Conrad Roy Jr., told reporters after the decision.

Roy's handwritten suicide note was revealed in court on Tuesday during the final day of Carter's trial. She told him to get back in the vehicle. "You better not be bullsh-ing me and saying you gonna do this and then purposely get caught".

Cater was charged as a youthful offender, which means that although she was a minor at the time of the incident, she was charged as an adult.

Matthew Segal, the head of the MA branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, criticized Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz's decision, tweeting that Carter's conviction "expands MA criminal law and imperils free speech".

Carter's defense attorney Joseph Cataldo said he was "disappointed" by the verdict as he left the courthouse, but did not make any further statement or take questions.

The defense argued that Carter had been "dragged" into Roy's longtime intent to commit suicide and was delusional, "overwhelmed" by Roy's talk of suicide and taking a new prescription for antidepressants.

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