Michelle Carter ‘s relationship with boyfriend Conrad Roy III, the late Massachusetts teen who died in July 2014 of carbon monoxide poisoning after locking himself in his truck, was one his family knew very little about — even as Carter showed up after Roy’s death asking to take home part of his ashes.
Carter was found guilty in June of involuntary manslaughter for urging Roy, 18, through texts and phone conversations to commit suicide despite the young man — who battled depression — telling her he wanted to abandon his plan.
The 20-year-old, who was 17 at the time of the texts, was charged as a youthful offender — which under state law allowed her to be sentenced the same as an adult although she was a minor at the time of the crime. She faced up to 20 years in prison, but was sentenced Thursday to two-and-a-half years for her crime. All but 15 months of that sentence were suspended.
Massachusetts Judge Lawrence Moniz agreed to stay Carter’s jail sentence until her lawyer’s appeal in her case is resolved. He also barred her from making any financial profit from the case, or having any contact with Carter’s family.
In an interview with ABC’s 20/20 on Friday, Roy’s aunt Kim Bozzi spoke out about Roy’s relationship with Carter — saying his mother thought she was “just an acquaintance of Conrad’s, nothing more.”
The two only met in person twice, their two-year relationship occurring only over text. And though she hadn’t met his family, Carter still attended Roy’s wake and funeral — where she put forward multiple requests to have a piece of Roy, including his ashes.
“She wanted to go through his room and take some of his belongings,” Bozzi revealed. “That’s when things started to get a little weird. Yeah, you don’t do that.”
Bozzi, who had hoped Carter would have received the maximum prison sentence for her crime, said Carter “has a damaged moral core.”
“I don’t think that she helped him kill himself. I think she forced him to kill himself,” Bozzi said of Carter. “I think she was responsible for his death. I think if it wasn’t for her, he’d still be here.”
“There was no way to wrap your mind around it, Bozzi added. “He was a kid, he was just a kid.”
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During Carter’s trial, text messages presented revealed she had told Roy to get back in the car even though he admitted he was “scared.”
“I could’ve stopped him,” Carter texted a classmate two months after Roy’s death, according to testimony. “I was on the phone with him and he got out of the car because it was working and he got scared and I [expletive] told him to get back in.”
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Reading that original exchange between Carter and Roy was difficult for Bozzi. “My heart broke because, unfortunately, he did [get back into the truck],” she said.
The most “unbelievable” part of Carter’s actions for Bozzi was what the young girl did after Roy’s death.
“She was there, sitting on the phone, talking to him while he was taking his last breath. Then she texted my niece a couple hours later, ‘Hey, do you know where your brother is?’ Then she texted his mom the next day, ‘Oh, hey, have you heard from Conrad?’ Knowing all along,” Bozzi said.
Though she’s disappointed Carter’s jail time will be so short, Bozzi takes solace in the fact that Carter “has to live as one of the most hated people in the country.”
During Carter’s hearing on Thursday, she appeared distraught and wept at times — but she did not speak and no statement was read on her behalf. Prosecutors and relatives of Roy claimed Carter has not expressed remorse for her actions.
Prior to sentencing, Roy’s father, Conrad Roy, Jr., read a statement saying, “Michelle Carter exploited my son’s weaknesses and used him as a pawn.”
“How could Michelle Carter behave so viscously and encourage my son to end his life? Where was her humanity?” he added.
Carter’s lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, disputed claims that his client wasn’t remorseful. “There are a lot of legal reasons she can’t jump up and down in the courtroom and claim remorse,” he said after the hearing.
He added that at Carter “was having her own mental health issues at the time [of Roy’s death]. Conrad Roy was having his.”
If you or someone you know is showing warning signs of suicide, consider contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK, texting the Crisis Text Lineat 741741 or seeking help from a professional.