A years-long case came to a close this morning when a Massachusetts judge determined 20-year-old Michelle Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter after she sent her boyfriend Conrad Roy III hundreds of texts in 2014 encouraging him to act on suicidal thoughts. Roy, 18, killed himself on July 13 of that year—he was found inside his pickup truck in a K-mart parking lot with a portable generator running.
Carter pleaded not guilty to the charge and waived her right to a jury, giving the sole judge the responsibility of deciding her fate. The case was the first of its kind, determining the legal consequences of a person telling someone to commit suicide. Carter will serve up to 20 years in prison.
During courtroom proceedings, prosecutors claimed Carter reprimanded Roy while on the phone with him as he expressed second thoughts while he took his last breaths, CNN reports. The prosecution also argued Carter "desperately" craved attention and used Roy's suicide as a method of getting it.
Carter's defense team, however, claimed the then-teen's prescription antidepressants may have caused her to be "involuntarily intoxicated," as well as "psychotic, delusional, and out of touch." They also argued Roy had a history of depression and suicide attempts and that Carter had, in fact, previously attempted to talk him out of committing suicide.
Some of the texts Carter and Roy exchanged were released in court in 2015, though Carter allegedly asked Roy to delete their conversations before killing himself:
CARTER: You can't think about it. You just have to do it. You said you were gonna do it. Like I don't get why you aren't.ROY: I don't get it either. I don't know.CARTER: So I guess you aren't gonna do it then. All that for nothing. I'm just confused. Like you were so ready and determined.ROY: I am gonna eventually. I really don't know what I'm waiting for but I have everything lined up.CARTER: No, you're not, Conrad. Last night was it. You kept pushing it off and you say you'll do it, but you never do. It's always gonna be that way if you don't take action. You're just making it harder on yourself by pushing it off. You just have to do it. Do you want to do it now?ROY: Is it too late? I don't know. It's already light outside. I'm gonna go back too sleep. Love you. I'll text you tomorrow.CARTER: No. It's probably the best time now because everyone is sleeping. Just go somewhere in your truck and no one is really out there right now because it's an awkward time. If you don't do it now you're never gonna do it, and you can say you'll do it tomorrow, but you probably won't. Tonight? Love you.
The judge denied the prosecution's request for immediate sentencing and for revoked bail, saying it wasn't appropriate at this time. Sentencing will happen on August 3.
Carter wept throughout the judge's announcement.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or visit their website.