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Michelle Carter Wants Out Of Jail, Claims Texts That Convicted Her Were 'Cherry Picked'

The woman who authorities say goaded her suicidal boyfriend Conrad Roy III into killing himself claims the texts are a free speech issue, according to a court filing. 

By Gina Tron
The Michelle Carter Case, Explained

Michelle Carter, the woman found guilty last year of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend over text message to commit suicide in 2014, wants out of jail.

In new court documents, filed in late June, she claims that a text message she sent to Conrad Roy III, 18, which told him to get back in his truck as it filled with deadly carbon monoxide, was “cherry-picked.” He did get back in his truck, outside a Fairhaven, Massachusetts K-Mart, and he died.

“You can’t think about it,” Carter wrote in one of the text messages to him. “You just have to do it. You said you were gonna do it. Like I don’t get why you aren’t.”

Carter’s lawyers claimed that Carter shouldn’t be punished for the texts she sent her boyfriend when she was 17, citing free speech.  

“Because the judge convicted Carter for what she said, or failed to say, not what she did, this case implicates free speech under the 1st Amendment,” her attorneys said in the court paperwork.

Joseph Cataldo, one of Carter’s attorneys, told The Washington Post that it isn’t illegal to encourage someone to commit suicide.

“Massachusetts common law has never said that words alone without physical presence has been sufficient to constitute a homicide — not until this case,” he said. “Any new definition of common law can only be applied moving forward, you cannot apply it to past events.”

Carter was convicted in Massachusetts and sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Judge Lawrence Moniz called Carter’s text urging Roy to get back in his truck a form of reckless conduct during Carter’s June 2017 sentencing. He said 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.

During her trial, a psychiatrist argued that Carter was on medication that clouded her judgment and that she too was struggling with suicidal thoughts. Dr. Peter 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.

In addition to getting jail time last year, Carter was sued by Roy’s mother. Court records show that Carter, now 21, was sued last year $4.2 million for her “negligence and wanton and reckless conduct.”

[Photo: Getty Images]

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