Michelle Carter Trial: Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal - Rolling Stone
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Michelle Carter’s Manslaughter Appeal Turned Down by Supreme Court

Carter was sentenced to 15 months in jail for encouraging her ex-boyfriend to take his own life via text message

Michelle Carter

Charles Krupa/Shutterstock

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court officially refused to hear the appeal of Michelle Carter, the woman who encouraged her boyfriend Conrad Roy III to take his own life via text message in 2014.

Carter, 23, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2017 for the death of Roy, who died by suicide in July 2014. Roy used a gasoline-powered water pump to fill his car with carbon monoxide; in the moments prior to his death, he was reluctant to follow through with it, and was encouraged to do so by the then-17-year-old Carter, who was communicating with him via phone and text message.

“[N]o more thinking you need to just do it. No more waiting,” she texted him when Roy expressed reticence. Following his death, Carter also told a friend that she had spoken to Roy on the phone twice, and that he had told her he wanted to get out of the car; she admitted that she had responded by telling him to go back in.

The case garnered national media attention, with many painting Carter as a manipulative and cunning sociopath intent on harming others to gain a sense of control. (It was the subject of a documentary, I Love You Now Diewhich was released by HBO in 2019, which offered a more sympathetic view of Carter’s actions.) It also sparked a debate as to whether Carter’s actions, while abhorrent, actually constituted manslaughter.

In 2017, a judge convicted Carter of manslaughter, saying that by failing to call 911 and encouraging him to stay in the car, Carter was complicit in Roy’s death. She was sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Her lawyers filed an appeal, claiming that under the First Amendment, Carter was not responsible for Roy’s death, and that she “neither provided Roy with the means of his death nor physically participated in his suicide.” The Massachusetts Supreme Court declined to take the case in February of last year.

If you or someone you know is considering taking their own life, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

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