Michelle Carter, 20, has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter over the death of her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, whom she encouraged to commit suicide in 2014, when she was 17 and he was 18. Carter will only serve 15 months in prison, with the rest of the balance suspended. She also received five years of supervised probation.
Roy took his life by poisoning himself with carbon monoxide in his car. When Roy texted Carter that he had gotten out of the vehicle because he was afraid, Carter told him to "get back in." When Roy expressed doubt about committing suicide, Carter replied, "I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right, and you just need to do it! You can't keep living this way."
The case sparked debate over the legal definition of manslaughter and whether an individual could be held responsible for another person's suicide. "I would say from the very start, the charges were surprising," University of Miami School of Law professor Mary Anne Franks told the BBC. Daniel Medwed, a professor at Northeastern University School of Law, added: "What Michelle Carter did was reprehensible, morally blameworthy, and despicable, but I'm not sure it was manslaughter."