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Involuntary Manslaughter: When You Make Someone Kill Themselves Via Text


In a landmark decision, a Massachusetts judge has convicted Michelle Carter of involuntary manslaughter, ruling she is responsible for her high school boyfriend’s suicide.
A Juvenile Court Judge said Friday that Carter, now 20, who was accused of encouraging Conrad Roy III through text messages to commit suicide, created an environment to cause harm. Roy, 18, died from carbon monoxide poisoning in July 2014.

The case raised new and contentious questions: Can a person be charged and convicted in someone’s death even if she was not with the victim when he died? And can that person be found guilty of killing someone based solely on what she said in text messages?

Carter could face up to 20 years in prison. Her sentencing hearing is set for August.

Roy, 18, was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning July 13, 2014, in a Kmart parking lot several miles outside of Boston. He committed suicide inside his pickup using a gas-powered water pump.
He and Carter, who was 17 then, had been texting about death in the days and weeks leading up to tragedy.

“You’re finally going to be happy in heaven. No more pain. It’s okay to be scared and it’s normal. I mean, you’re about to die,” she wrote in one of the messages.

Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter and tried in a juvenile court because she was 17 at the time of the suicide.

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