A Massachusetts woman who repeatedly told her boyfriend to kill himself before his eventual suicide was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2017 for her role in the death. Now, 22-year-old Michelle Carter is hoping to take her case to the Supreme Court in the hopes of overturning the conviction.
Police discovered text messages between Carter and her long-distance boyfriend, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, in 2014 after Roy was found dead in his car from self-inflicted carbon monoxide poisoning. Carter, who was 17 at the time, repeatedly told Roy to kill himself.
“You have to just do it,” she texted him as Roy contemplated suicide, according to her arrest documents. “You have everything you need. There is no way you can fail. Tonight is the night. It’s now or never.”
Carter suggested different ways Roy could kill himself, and even admonished the teen when he expressed his reluctance to go through with it.
“You always say you’re gonna do it, but you never do,” she said in one text. “I just want to make sure tonight is the real thing.”
“But I bet you’re gonna be like ‘oh, it didn’t work because I didn’t tape the tube right or something like that,’” she said in another text. “I bet you’re gonna say an excuse like that...you seem to always have an excuse.”
Carter was found guilty and sentenced to 15 months for her role in his death. On Monday, her attorneys filed a petition to the Supreme Court asking for her conviction to be overturned, the Washington Post reported. Her lawyers argue that Carter’s right to free speech shields her from criminal responsibility.
Carter’s case drew national headlines, and is now the subject of an HBO documentary set to air Tuesday.
Following Roy’s death, Carter texted a friend saying she was worried authorities would discover her role.
“[If] they read my messages with him I’m done,” she texted shortly after he died. “His family will hate me and I can go to jail.”