BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts' highest court upheld the conviction of a woman who encouraged her then-boyfriend to commit suicide via text message.
Michelle Carter was convicted in Bristol Juvenile Court in 2017 of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Conrad Roy in 2014, when Carter was 17.
Carter was found to have sent texts to her suicidal boyfriend telling him to get back into his truck, which was filling with carbon monoxide. She was sentenced to 15 months in prison, and was granted a stay as she worked through the appeals process.
Attorneys for Carter argued that she did nothing wrong, and that her texts constituted free speech—but in a ruling Wednesday, the Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the lower court's original findings.
"The evidence against the defendant proved that, by her wanton or reckless conduct, she caused the victim's death by suicide," court documents read.
Former Suffolk County DA Dan Conley, now with Mintz Levin, told WBZ NewsRadio the court here is sending a significant message.
"With the prevalence of text messaging, the use of social media and how it might affect young people, this really should be a wake-up call to parents and teenagers and others that words matter," Conley said. "Whenever the court speaks, it's putting the public on notice, and I think that's exactly what they did in this case. This was in fact wanton and reckless conduct by the defendant, and she deserved to be held accountable and she was held accountable, and I think it was a very good decision."
WBZ NewsRadio's Carl Stevens ( @carlwbz ) reports