Criminal Justice

Woman who encouraged her boyfriend's 2014 suicide is sentenced

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A woman convicted of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend’s 2014 suicide has been sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Judge Lawrence Moniz of Massachusetts sentenced Michelle Carter, 20, on Thursday to 2½ years, but suspended half of the sentence, report CNN, the New York Times and ABC News. The judge also ordered her to serve five years of probation.

Moniz stayed the sentence pending appeals.

Michelle Carter was 17 when she allegedly told her 18-year-old boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, in a phone call to get back in a truck filled with carbon monoxide fumes. When Moniz convicted Carter in June, he faulted her for failing to tell him to stop the suicide attempt and for encouraging suicide in prior text messages.

Prosecutors had claimed Carter told her boyfriend to get back in the truck based on a text she sent to friends after his death. Carter said in the text that Roy’s death was her fault, she could have stopped him, and she told him on the phone to get back in the truck when he became scared and left it.

Prosecutors had asked the judge for a sentence of seven to 12 years in prison while Carter’s lawyer had sought probation.

Matthew Segal, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, told the New York Times that, if the verdict isn’t overturned on appeal, it will “chill important and worthwhile end-of-life discussions.”

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