Michelle Carter, the woman who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her ex-boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, filed notice to appeal her conviction Wednesday.
The 20-year-old Massachusetts woman was 17 when she ordered her 18-year-old boyfriend to get back in his truck and continue on with his plans to kill himself via text message. She was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for his 2014 death, including 15 months to be served immediately and the remainder to be served after her probation expires in 2022.
During her sentencing in August, Carter’s attorney hinted that her legal team would be filing an appeal based on the conceit that Carter’s words were protected by the First Amendment.
“This is a very unique and, despite the court’s findings, novel issue involving speech alone, without presence – without physical presence,” Carter’s attorney, Joseph Cataldo, told MassLive.com at the time. “I suggest this is a very important legal issue that needs to be pursued in the appellate court.”
On July 13th, 2014, Carter was texting with Roy at the time of his death, urging him to “get back in” a truck filled with carbon monoxide after he told her he was having second thoughts about taking his own life.
“The time is right and you are ready … just do it babe,” one of her texts read. “You can’t think about it. You just have to do it,” read another. “You said you were gonna do it. Like, I don’t get why you aren’t.”
Carter’s case marks one of the first cases of its kind, and the outcome may help to determine the legal boundaries in telling someone to commit suicide. During the trial, a psychiatrist testified that Carter was delusional after becoming “involuntarily intoxicated” by antidepressants and even texted Roy’s phone for weeks after his death.
Roy’s mother also filed a $4.3 million wrongful death lawsuit against Carter last month.