Michelle Carter sentenced to serve 15 months in prison

Marie Harrington
August 4, 2017

Michelle Carter was convicted in June and faces up to 20 years in prison for encouraging the suicide of Conrad Roy.

The judge rejected a theory of involuntary intoxication raised by psychiatrist Peter Breggin, a defence witness who testified that Carter's own medication would have hindered her state of mind.

They argued that Carter used Roy as a "pawn in her sick game of life and death" and wanted to be "the grieving girlfriend" to gain her peers' attention and sympathy, which she always craved. "It was his decision, which broke the connection between her behavior and the result", Medwed said.

While the judge did not give credence to the psychiatrist's contention in his verdict, it is likely that he will consider Carter's mental health issues and medication as mitigating factors in the sentencing, Medwed said. "Like I don't get why you aren't", Carter wrote in one of the text messages.

Daniel Medwed, a law and criminal justice professor at Northeastern University, told Business Insider on Thursday that it was unlikely that Carter would be sentenced to 20 years in prison due to her young age at the time of the crime and her history of mental illness.

"This was a awful circumstance that she complete regrets and does in her letter take responsibility for, your honor", Cataldo said.

Roy's family told a court Thursday before Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz sentenced Carter that they were devastated by his death.

Carter was 17 when she sent Roy a barrage of text messages and phone calls encouraging him to follow through on threats he had made to kill himself. In a text message to a friend afterward, Carter acknowledged pressuring Roy over the phone to get back in the toxin-filled cab, after he had second thoughts. The implications of this conviction go far beyond the tragic circumstances of Mr. Roy's death.

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Conrad Roy Jr. said it inflicted the "worst emotional pain" he has ever experienced.

Defendant Michelle Carter listens to testimony at Taunton District Court in Taunton, Massachusetts, June 8, 2017.

"While Mr. Roy's death is truly devastating, it is not a reason to stretch the boundaries of our criminal laws or abandon the protections of our constitution", said Matthew Segal, the group's legal director.

Cataldo argued that Roy was determined to kill himself and nothing Carter did could change that. "You said you were gonna do it", she also said.

"What we're dealing with is a suicide and not a homicide", Cataldo said during closing arguments.

The two teens first met during a family vacation in 2012 and after that their relationship built around text messages.

They struck up an off-and-on relationship that was conducted nearly entirely via texts and Facebook messages, included frank discussions of depression, eating disorders and both teens' emotional frailty.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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