Massachusetts' top court has ruled that a teenage woman will stand trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge for allegedly talking her boyfriend into killing himself, a case that has sparked nationwide debate over free speech.
The state's Supreme Judicial Court on Friday approved the prosecution of Michelle Carter, now 19, the Boston Globe reported, saying "the verbal conduct at issue was sufficient" to warrant the indictment.
The Plainville resident was 17 when she sent a series of texts to her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy apparently urging him to take his own life. And that's just what he did.
Roy died on July 13, 2014 after poisoning himself with carbon monoxide fumes in a Fairhaven parking lot. In the 48 hours before, Carter had texted him several times urging him to commit suicide, the judge wrote in the decision.
According to texts, Carter tried to ease Roy's concerns about the impact his suicide would have on his family.
“I told you I'll take care of them. Everyone will take care of them to make sure they won't be alone and people will help them get thru it. We talked about this, they will be okay and accept it. People who commit suicide don't think this much and they just do it," Conrad wrote, according to court documents.
Documents also show that Carter discussed the methods in which she believed Roy should kill himself. In several texts, Carter expressed disappointment that Roy had not yet ended his own life.
"So I guess you aren't gonna do it then, all that for nothing," she texted, according to documents.
"I am gonna evenutally," Roy responded, then later expressing more doubt and hesitation.
In court, a Boston defense attorney argued that state law doesn't permit the criminal prosecution of someone who urges another to end their lives, the Globe reported. The defense also argued that Carter was communicating with Roy electronically and was not physically present when Roy killed himself.