Lawyers for Michelle Carter, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide, have filed an appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court requesting that the conviction be overturned.
Carter’s new defense team – which includes a defense attorney for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – stated in the February 5 request that the conviction violated state and the country’s constitutional legislation, and that it set a concerning “precedent for who may be prosecuted for encouraging suicide with words alone.”
“Nothing in Massachusetts law made clear to 17-year-old Carter, or anyone else, that such circumstances could constitute involuntary manslaughter,” the appeal stated.
Carter, 21, was found guilty last July of involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 death of her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy – who had struggled with mental illness and previously attempted to take his own life – after ordering him by phone, some 30 miles from his location, to ”get back in” his truck which was filling with carbon monoxide.
Roy had jumped out of the vehicle admitting that he “was scared,” according to evidence disclosed by prosecutors, but heeded the demands of Carter, who was 17 at the time.
Prosecutors contended throughout the 2017 trial that the then-teenager had repeatedly coerced her boyfriend to kill himself, instructing him on how to do so through a series of text messages and phone calls and berating him for procrastinating going through with it. They claimed that Carter used Roy in her “sick game of life and death,” while Carter’s attorneys asserted that he had been “on this path to take his own life for years.”
Carter was sentenced to 15 months behind bars, with Judge Lawrence Moniz concluding that her actions amounted to “wanton and reckless conduct.”