Michelle Carter, the Massachusetts teen who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend via text messages and phone calls to commit suicide, was sentenced on Thursday, August 3.
Carter was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, but will only serve 15 months with the balance suspended, CNN reports. She was also sentenced to five years of probation. Carter appeared to be emotional and teared up during the sentencing.
Carter was 17 at the time when she urged her 18-year-old boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, to kill himself in 2014, but she was charged as a youthful offender, which allowed her to be sentenced as an adult. She persuaded Roy to stay in his pickup truck as it filled with carbon monoxide in a store parking lot.
“This court must and has balanced between rehabilitation, the promise that rehabilitation would work and a punishment for the actions that have occurred,” Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz said, per CNN.
The judge also granted a motion that will keep Carter out of jail until her appeals in Massachusetts courts are exhausted, according to the cable news network.
Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter by the judge in June and faced a maximum of 20 years behind bars. Prosecutors asked for her to receive between seven and 12 years in prison, while Carter’s attorney recommended five years of supervised probation and mental health counseling.
While announcing the verdict in June, Moniz said his decision was influenced by the fact that Carter took no actions to help Roy. “She admits in a subsequent text that she did nothing — she did not call the police or Mr. Roy’s family,” he said. “Finally, she did not issue a simple additional instruction: ‘Get out of the truck.’”
According to court records, Carter and Roy had been texting about death for weeks leading up to the suicide, The Washington Post reports. Per the newspaper, in one message, Carter wrote: “You’re finally going to be happy in heaven. No more pain. It’s OK to be scared and it’s normal. I mean, you’re about to die.”
If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to be connected to a local crisis center for confidential emotional support.
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