A woman who was on trial for encouraging her boyfriend to kill himself over text message was found guilty on Friday morning of involuntary manslaughter.
Michelle Carter, 20, was shaking and crying as the verdict was read. Judge Lawrence Moniz said that Carter was reckless.
Carter has been on trial for involuntary manslaughter for the death of her 18-year-old boyfriend. Carter, then 17, is accused of urging her boyfriend Conrad Roy III to kill himself over text messages. Roy was sitting in his pickup in July 2014, filling his truck with carbon monoxide, trying to kill himself. Having second thoughts, he left the truck, and Carter told him to ‘‘get back in.’’
Judge Moniz called that text from Carter reckless conduct on Friday morning. He added that she knew what condition he was in and yet didn’t call 911 or Roy’s family. Moniz further added that Carter knew the location of the suicide.
“She didn’t notify his mother or his sister even though she had asked to obtain their cell numbers….just a few days before the event in question. She called no one,” said Moniz.
Carter was scheduled to be sentenced in November. She is now out on bail and faces up to 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors have accused Carter of wanting the sympathy and attention that came with being the ‘‘grieving girlfriend.’’
A psychiatrist argued that Carter was on medication that clouded her judgement and that she too was struggling with suicidal thoughts. Dr. Breggin, who testified for the defense, said that Carter had no nefarious intent and genuinely thought she was helping Roy. She had been on Prozac for years before switching to Celexa three months before Roy's death. Breggin testified that such drugs can impair judgment, wisdom, understanding, love and empathy especially in the adolescent brain.
Moniz said in court on Friday that he did not buy Breggin’s testimony.
The trial began earlier this month. As jury selection was set to begin, Carter waived her right to a trial by jury, according to CBS Boston. That means the judge, not a jury, determined her fate.