Michelle Carter found guilty of involuntary manslaughter
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 18, 2017,
Jun 18, 2017, 20:49
Roy poisoned himself by inhaling carbon monoxide while inside his pickup truck. She then instructed him to "get back in".
Michelle Carter, now 20, was convicted in Bristol Juvenile Court in a case that could have broad implications for how prosecutors and judges address criminal intent in the age of instant communication and ubiquitous social media engagement. He began deliberating late Tuesday after closing arguments concluded.
Speaking from the bench, Moniz said that he concluded Carter was guilty of involuntary manslaughter, in part, for ordering Roy back into the truck in what she knew was a toxic environment where it would take him 15 minutes to die - and failed to notify anyone as required under MA law.
Flynn told the court that after Carter told Roy to return to his auto, she then listened to him "as he cried out in pain and died" and did not contact his police or family for help.
Carter cried as the judge read his verdict and sobs broke out in the courtroom.
Carter faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced August 3.
Bristol County prosecutor Maryclare Flynn portrayed Carter as a manipulative person who enjoyed her control over the teen and hoped to win sympathy for herself among her high school friends as a result of Roy's death. Carter and Roy met in Florida in 2012 while both were on vacation with their families. Their relationship largely existed online, consisting of text and Facebook messages.
"You're finally going to be happy in heaven". "It's been many long, painful years that we've been dealing with this". Like I dont get why you arent, Carter wrote to Roy the day of his suicide. He pointed out that Roy had stepped out of the truck, and told Carter he couldn't go through with it. You're ready." When Roy said, "Ok, I will.no more thinking", Carter replied, "Yes, no more thinking. Carter had previously waived her right to a trial, and the verdict was given in a nonjury trial by MA judge Lawrence Moniz, who said Carter's actions were not just immoral but illegal, according to The New York Times.
What do you think of the verdict? You're just making it harder on yourself by pushing it off. "Do you want to do it now?" Months prior he had tried committing suicide by overdosing unsuccessfully. The messages show that Carter repeatedly encouraged Roy to act on his urge to end his life. Knowing, or at least having the state of mind that 15 minutes must pass, Miss Carter took no actions...
Moniz focused on Carter telling Roy to return to his truck when he was first overcome by fumes.
A psychiatrist who testified for the defense said Carter was suffering from side effects from an anti-depressant she was taking. His girlfriend told him to get back in the truck.
The judge said he did not take into account in his verdict Roys previous attempts at suicide. "This was a suicide-a sad and tragic suicide, but not a homicide".
The case gained widespread attention from legal experts and the public.
Under Massachusetts law, "reckless" or "wanton" conduct that poses a high risk of substantial harm constitutes involuntary manslaughter.
"There is no law in MA making it a crime to encourage someone, or even to persuade someone, to commit suicide".
Medwed said the judge could consider Carter "morally blameworthy", but "moral blame doesn't always equal legal accountability".