WATCH Michelle Carter Sentencing In Teen Text Killer Case

Jerome Frank
August 4, 2017

Convicted in mid-June in MA have led to the suicide of her boyfriend, Michelle Carter, who is barely 20 years old, will on Thursday, the quantum of his sentence, which could reach 20 years imprisonment.

Followed by her parents, Michelle Carter arrives for her sentencing at a courtroom in Taunton, Mass., Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, for involuntary manslaughter for encouraging Conrad Roy III to kill himself in July 2014. Following a bench trial, a judge ruled that Carter should be held responsible for his death, based on hundreds of text messages she sent urging him to commit suicide.

Judge Lawrence Moniz allowed Carter to remain free while she appeals the case. NBC Boston will broadcast the proceedings live.

"When are you gonna do it?"

Carter's defense attorney Joseph Cataldo argued Carter would be better rehabilitated if she underwent mental health treatment, and said she regretted her actions.

"This conviction exceeds the limits of our criminal laws and violates free speech protections guaranteed by the MA and U.S. Constitutions", Matthew Segal, legal director at the ACLU of MA, said.

"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.

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An assistant district attorney argued before the judge on Thursday that Carter encouraged Roy's suicide "for her own personal gain and quest for attention" as part of a "charade as the grieving girlfriend".

The judge's conclusion was particularly unexpected, several lawyers said, because MA is one of a few states that do not explicitly outlaw encouraging or persuading someone to commit suicide. And on the night in question, after he climbed out of his truck as it filled with fumes, she talked to him by phone and, according to prosecutors and the judge, told him to get back in.

"I don't know this judge at all, but it's like cutting the baby in half", Gertner said.

An opinion piece that appeared in New York Times by Robby Soave said, "What Ms. Carter said to Mr. Roy was outrageous". "I ask of you to invoke leniency in your decision-making process for my loving child Michelle".

But Gertner said the First Amendment implications are complex, and speech in the United States is not protected in all situations. Healy said in a statement that Carter had sealed her fate "through the use of her own words".

Medwed said that he "strongly believed" Moniz would sentence her to prison, because during trial the judge "could barely hide his disdain for her when he rendered the verdict".

The American Civil Liberties Union of MA, which argued against Carter's prosecution, said there is no criminal statute against encouraging someone to kill themselves.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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