Due to "good credit" earned in jail, Michelle Carter could be freed more than two months early from her 15-month sentence
The mother of Conrad Roy III, who died by suicide after his teen girlfriend urged him in texts and phone calls to kill himself, says she doesn’t give any thought to the fact that Michelle Carter will serve less than the 15 months to which she was sentenced for involuntary manslaughter.
“I don’t think about her,” Lynn Roy tells Dr. Mehmet Oz for an episode of The Dr. Oz Show to be broadcast Thursday. “It is what it is. You know, I don’t think about her at all.”
Due to “good credit” earned through her participation in programs inside the Bristol County House of Corrections in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Carter, who began serving her sentence in February, already has shaved two months off that time, a spokesman for the county sheriff’s office tells PEOPLE.
Conrad was 18 when he was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in his pickup truck on July 13, 2014, in the parking lot of a Kmart in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.
Asked by Oz whether she thinks Carter was guilty “of enabling your son to do something he wouldn’t have otherwise done,” Lynn Roy responds: “She definitely is guilty of many things.”
Police and prosecutors said Carter deliberately misled friends in the days and hours before Conrad died, claiming she didn’t know where he was at the same time the two of them were in contact while he prepared to take his life.
Conrad’s sister, Camdyn, tells Oz in the broadcast that Carter “could have texted me” to help prevent it. “She had my number and she texted me that night,” says Camdyn.
“What did she text you that night?” asks Oz.
“That he was missing,” says Camdyn.
“She knew,” says Lynn. “She heard him die in the truck. The police reports [said] that she was on the phone with him while he was dying.”
In hundreds of texts and statements that came to light after Roy’s suicide, Carter, then 17, was revealed to have pushed him to go through with the act. The Massachusetts judge who found her guilty cited Carter’s written admission to a friend that, after Conrad got out of the truck and shared his last-minute fears with Carter in a phone call before he died, she told him to “get back in” the truck.
Both teens had struggled with depression, and Conrad had made previous attempts at suicide.
Although Carter’s defense acknowledged her exchanges with Roy, her attorneys argued that prosecutors had “cherry-picked” only those text messages that served their case against her, ignoring others in which Carter urged Roy toward help for his struggles.
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They further argued that Carter’s statements were covered by First Amendment free-speech protections and that she shouldn’t be found guilty for a crime through words alone, especially when she wasn’t on the scene where Conrad died.
“She did nothing,” Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz said at Carter’s sentencing. “She did not call the police or Mr. Roy’s family. Finally, she did not issue a simple additional instruction: ‘Get out of the truck.’”
Carter, now 23, appealed her conviction to the state’s highest court but lost and was ordered to begin her sentence. In September, she sought early release after serving seven months. The Massachusetts parole board denied that request, writing in its decision that Carter’s “self-serving statements and behavior, leading up to and after [Conrad’s] suicide, appear to be irrational and lacked sincerity.”
The board’s decision further stated, “Ms. Carter needs to further address her causative factors that led to the governing offense.”
Although she lost out on parole, Carter’s exemplary participation in jail programs while incarcerated nonetheless has allowed her to shorten her time in lockup. Inmates can earn up to 10 days “good time” credit each month by attending programs and classes as well as working inside the jail, Jonathan Darling, the sheriff’s office spokesman, told PEOPLE.
As of Nov. 8, Carter’s participation in those programs had so far moved her release date up to March 3, 2020, from May 5, he confirms in an email.
After losing her appeal in the state courts, Carter’s defense team has since appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court on First Amendment grounds and is waiting to learn whether it will be heard.
The Dr. Oz Show featuring the Roy family airs Thursday. Check local listings.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 for free 24/7 support or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.