Michelle Carter Denied Parole in Texting Suicide Case - NBC4 Washington
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Michelle Carter Denied Parole in Texting Suicide Case

Carter is serving a jail sentence for urging her suicidal boyfriend via text messages to take his own life

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    Michelle Carter Denied Parole

    The Massachusetts Parole Board on Friday said it had denied an early-release request from Michelle Carter, the woman currently imprisoned for urging her suicidal boyfriend via text messages to take his own life.

    (Published Friday, Sept. 20, 2019)

    The Massachusetts Parole Board on Friday said it had denied an early-release request from Michelle Carter, the woman imprisoned for urging her suicidal boyfriend via text messages to take his own life. 

    The board said in a statement that Carter's request did not meet the legal standard for release, adding that she "needs to further address her causative factors" that led to her crimes.  

    The statement came a day after Carter, 23, appeared before the board to seek release after serving seven months of her 15-month jail sentence. 

    Carter was convicted in 2017 of involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 death of her suicidal boyfriend Conrad Roy III, but the judge allowed her to remain free while she appealed. Massachusetts' highest court upheld her conviction, saying her actions caused Roy's death.

    The board "is troubled that Ms. Carter not only encouraged Mr. Conrad to take his own life, she actively prevented others from intervening in his suicide," the statement said.

    "Ms. Carter's self-serving statements and behavior, leading up to and after his suicide, appear to be irrational and lacked sincerity."

    A lawyer for Carter had urged the judge to allow the now 23-year-old to stay out of jail while they took her case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her attorneys argued that she had no prior criminal record, hadn't tried to flee, and had been receiving mental health treatment.

    But after a judge ruled that she should start her sentence, Carter was taken into custody. She began serving her 15-month jail sentence in February.

    In July, the Bristol County Sheriff's Office said Carter was still in their custody, but that she was not currently at a correctional facility in the county.

    The sheriff's office did not immediately provide further information about Carter's whereabouts or the circumstances of her move.

    Carter was 17 when Roy, 18, took his own life in Fairhaven, a town on Massachusetts' south coast in July 2014. Her case garnered international attention and provided a disturbing look at teenage depression and suicide.

    Carter and Roy both struggled with depression, and Roy had previously tried to kill himself. Their relationship consisted mostly of texting and other electronic communications.

    In dozens of text messages revealed during her sensational trial, Carter pushed Roy to end his life and chastised him when he hesitated. As Roy made excuses to put off his plans, her texts became more insistent.

    "You keep pushing it off and say you'll do it but u never do. It's always gonna be that way if u don't take action," Carter texted him he on the day he died.

    The juvenile court judge focused his guilty verdict on the fact that Carter told Roy over the phone to get back in his truck when it was filling with carbon monoxide. The judge said Carter had a duty to call the police or Roy's family, but instead listened on the phone as he died.

    "After she convinced him to get back into the carbon monoxide filled truck, she did absolutely nothing to help him: she did not call for help or tell him to get out of the truck as she listened to him choke and die," Supreme Judicial Court Justice Scott Kafker wrote in the court's opinion affirming her conviction.

    At trial, Carter's lawyer argued Carter had initially tried to talk Roy out of suicide and encouraged him to get help. Her attorney said Roy was determined to kill himself and nothing Carter did could change that.

    Her appellate attorneys said there was no evidence that Roy would have lived if Carter had called for help. They also argued there wasn't enough evidence to prove that Carter told Roy to get back in his truck.

    Her phone call with Roy wasn't recorded, but prosecutors pointed to a rambling text that Carter sent to a friend two months later in which she said called Roy's death her fault and said she told Roy to "get back in" the truck.

    If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting 'Home' to 741741.