Friday, 20 September, 2019

Manslaughter conviction upheld of young woman who texted boyfriend to kill himself

Michelle Carter is seen during her sentencing for involuntary manslaughter in 2017. She was convicted of encouraging her boyf Court Upholds Conviction Of Michelle Carter In Texting-Suicide Case
Patty Aguilar | 08 February, 2019, 13:59

Her lawyers argued she could not be responsible because she wasn't there. The girl has since been tried for "involuntary manslaughter" as per the USA laws.

"Her conduct was wanton and reckless, and caused the death of Conrad Roy".

Carter opted against a jury trial, leaving her fate in the hands of Judge Lawrence Moniz, who found her guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Carter's lawyers said they will consider all legal options, including an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Carter attorney Daniel Marx said in a statement he was disappointed in the ruling, which he claims hinges on a narrative that is not supported by evidence. "As the court stated, the defendant herself admitted that she caused the death of Conrad Roy by her own conduct". Carter had also been treated for anorexia, while Roy had made earlier suicide attempts.

Assistant District Attorney Shoshana Stern told the court that Carter knew she had "significant leverage" over Roy and became more insistent as he became more depressed.

'I thought you wanted to do this.

In her texts, she wrote: "You're finally going to be happy in heaven".

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The court differentiated Carter's case from one involving end-of-life discussions between a doctor, family member or friend, or a terminally ill adult confronting hard personal choices. He killed himself by carbon monoxide inside a vehicle.

Roy killed himself on July 12, 2014, by filling his parked truck in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, with carbon monoxide from a generator he had hooked up to it. He died of carbon monoxide inhalation that was produced "by a gasoline-powered water pump located in the truck", the ruling said.

A psychiatrist who testified for the defense during Carter's trial said that Roy wasn't the only one in their relationship who was troubled.

He was 18 when he died.

Last year, her defense team wrote in their application for the appeal: "Carter is the first defendant to have been convicted of killing a person who took his own life, even though she neither provided the fatal means nor was present when the suicide occurred".

The high court cited Carter's texts to friends in which she said Roy's death was her fault because she "told him to get back in" the truck after he "got scared" and left the vehicle as he inhaled carbon monoxide.

After the conviction, Laurie Levenson, a criminal law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, told The Post that the case sends a strong message that "there are new means of committing old crimes", and prosecutors will be more likely to look at those cases. "It has very troubling implications, for free speech, due process, and the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, that should concern us all", he said, adding that he would appeal the case all the way to the US Supreme Court if necessary.

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