Defense in suicide text case expects exoneration


TAUNTON, Mass. (AP) Developments on Thursday, August 3, about the sentencing of a Massachusetts woman convicted of involuntary manslaughter for sending her suicidal boyfriend a barrage of text messages in 2014 urging him to kill himself (all times Eastern Daylight Time).

  • 5:10 p.m.

A lawyer for Michelle Carter, 20 — who was sentenced to 15 months in jail for urging Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself — said he was confident she eventually will be vindicated.

During sentencing, the judge granted a defense motion to stay her sentence, meaning she will not have to go to jail until she exhausts her appeals in Massachusetts.

Joseph Cataldo told reporters he believes Carter will be cleared.

Cataldo said he will appeal Carter’s conviction by arguing that Carter did not break any law when she encouraged Roy to take his own life which he did by pumping toxic gas into his truck.

Cataldo said he believes her text messages to Roy amount to free speech protected by the First Amendment.

  • 3:30 p.m.

Taunton Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz allowed Carter to return home after sentencing her to the 15-month jail term plus five years’ probation. Her lawyers had asked for the stay.

The judge ordered Carter to stay away from Roy’s family.

Moniz ruled Carter caused Roy’s death when she told him to “get back in” his truck as it was filling with carbon monoxide.

The judge called the case “a tragedy for two families.”

  • 3:10 p.m.

Carter was 17 when Roy died in 2014.

During Carter’s trial, her lawyer argued that Roy was determined to kill himself and nothing Carter did could change that.

Carter faced a maximum sentence of 20 years.

  • 2:30 p.m.

A prosecutor urged seven to 12 years’ imprisonment for Carter.

Her lawyers asked for probation, but prosecutor Maryclare Flynn called that “just not reasonable punishment” for her role in Roy’s suicide.

Flynn said all Carter needed to do was ask Roy to leave the truck. Instead, she told him to “get back in.”

In arguing for probation, defense lawyer Cataldo said Carter didn’t pose a danger to the public.

Carter clutched a tissue and had tears in her eyes as she awaited sentencing.

  • 2:15 p.m.

Roy’s relatives said they’re haunted by his death.

Conrad Roy Jr. testified his son’s death inflicted the “worst emotional pain” he has ever experienced. “I am heartbroken,” he said.

Camden Roy recalled the 13 years she spent with her brother and said she’s “haunted” by the realization that she’ll never see him wed or be an aunt to his children.

They spoke before Carter’s sentencing.

  • 9:00 a.m.

Roy’s aunt asked the judge to sentence Carter to the 20-year maximum.

Carter’s father said his daughter made “a tragic mistake.” He’s asked the judge for probation and continued counseling.