See Michelle Carter’s prison sentence and why she told her boyfriend to kill himself
On July 13, 2014, the body of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III was found dead in his grandfather’s pickup truck in the back of a Kmart parking lot in in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. He had committed suicide by attaching a hose from a portable generator and filling the truck with poisonous carbon monoxide, according to people. But Roy hadn’t done it alone-he’d had encouragement from his girlfriend, then 17-year-old Michelle Carter.
She lived in Plainville, Massachusetts-an hour or so away from Fairhaven-but the couple had only met a handful of times after meeting in Florida while on their respective family vacations in 2012. However, they had exchanged thousands upon thousands of texts-more than 1,000 just in the week leading up to Roy taking his own life, People reported. In Carter’s texts to Roy, she time and again encouraged him to commit suicide and even helped him plan out how exactly he was going to do it.
After police originally discovered the texts and phone calls between Carter and Roy in 2014, she was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Now, those texts, phone calls, and the controversial trial that resulted are the focus of a new HBO documentary, I love you, Now Die: The common wealth v. Michelle Carter, the first part of which premiered on July 9.
The second part-“The Defense”-premieres on July 10 at 8 p.m. ET. Overall, the film reexamines the case, attempting to get inside the head of Carter and figure out why she could have convinced someone she claimed she loved to kill himself.
But first, what was Michelle Carter’s sentence?
After a legal fight that spanned five years, Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz found Carter guilty and sentenced her to two and a half years in prison in June 2017.
In the judge’s ruling it wasn’t the texts Carter sent Roy, but the phone call he made to her during his suicide attempt-in which she allegedly told him to get back in the truck-that constituted “wanton and reckless conduct,” making Carter criminally responsible for Roy’s suicide. He further noted that she alerted neither Roys family nor local authorities to his actions even though she knew Roy intended to commit suicide.
Carter was able to remain out on bail during her lawyer’s initial appeals process until the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled not to overturn her conviction on February 6, 2019.
Then, Moniz ordered Carter-now 22-to begin serving her prison sentence at the Bristol County Jail and House of Correction. Nonetheless, Carters attorney, Joseph Cataldo, is currently in the process of preparing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme course.
Michelle Carter’s conviction and sentencing:
During Bristol County Assistant District Attorney Katie Rayburn’s cross-examination of Breggin, however, he had to admit that there was no section on involuntary intoxication in the diagonistic and Stastical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Instead, he said, “That’s a legal term.” Breggin did later say that involuntary intoxication was based on many clinical conditions that could be found in the DSM, but the fact remains that it is not an official mental health term.
Still, Carter’s parents seemed to believe his assessment of their daughter. In a character statement David Carter later submitted to the court, he wrote: “I am convinced the medication she was taking affected her mental state which made it difficult for her to distinguish between right and wrong.”
Though I Love You, Now Die strives to understand Carter’s mental state that motivated her to write those texts to Roy, the only person who can ever truly understand why she did it is Carter herself. And, considering her silence throughout the trial and multiple appeals, it’s likely that she’ll stay mum while serving out the rest of her 15-month prison sentence.