20-year-old woman convicted of manslaughter over suicide-promoting texts

Charged with convincing 18-year-old boyfriend to kill himself

20-year-old Michelle Carter has been convicted in a Massachusetts court of involuntary manslaughter. The charge was filed against Carter after it was found that she sent texts encouraging her 18-year-old boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to commit suicide. Roy ended up carrying out the act on July 13, 2014 in a parking lot. Carter is now facing up to 20 years in prison, and received the verdict as she was crying in court. This is a legal point in history, as Massachusetts previously had no known cases of how to handle a person pressuring another into committing suicide. Carter will be sentenced on August 3, 2017.

Some of the texts revealed in the case included, “Hang yourself, jump off a building, stab yourself, I don’t know there’s a lot of ways,” which was sent to Roy while he was on a family vacation two weeks before his eventual suicide. Just moments before the suicide, Carter sent texts such as “You need to do it, Conrad,” and “You’re finally going to be happy in heaven. No more pain. It’s okay to be scared and it’s normal. I mean, you’re about to die.”

“Years ago, in order to have a relationship you had to actually see somebody, or at a minimum talk on the phone. That is no longer required. People fall in love via the Internet and via text. People bully via text and the Internet. You can encourage someone to die via text,” explained Katie Rayburn, assistant district attorney in her closing statement when talking about how Roy could have been so influenced by Carter’s texts. The prosecution argued that Roy’s history of depression and previous suicide attempts were used to manipulate him into carrying out Carter’s desires.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or need help supporting someone in such a situation, call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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