Michelle Carter, Jailed for Urging Boyfriend's Suicide, Is Denied Parole: She 'Lacked Sincerity'

Michelle Carter was jailed after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in her boyfriend's death

Texting Suicide - 11 Feb 2019
Michelle Carter. Photo: AP/REX/Shutterstock

Michelle Carter, who was jailed after encouraging her boyfriend to kill himself in a series of text and phone conversations, was denied parole after she asked for early release, PEOPLE confirms.

Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 15 months in jail for her role in the death of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, who was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in his pickup truck on July 13, 2014, in the parking lot of a Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Kmart.

She had served seven months of her sentence.

“The [board] is troubled that Ms. Carter not only encouraged [Conrad Roy III] to take his own life, she actively prevented others from intervening in his suicide,” the Massachusetts parole board wrote in its decision, which was obtained by PEOPLE. “Ms. Carter’s self-serving statements and behavior, leading up to and after his suicide, appear to be irrational and lacked sincerity.”

The decision added, “Ms. Carter needs to further address her causative factors that led to the governing offense.”

Carter had asked the Massachusetts parole board for early release in a closed-door hearing on Thursday.

After the was denied parole, her attorney Joseph Cataldo told PEOPLE he was disappointed by the ruling.

“I was certainly hopeful, given that she was 16 when she knew him then 17 [when he died], and given her age and mental health issues she was struggling with at the time,” he said.

Cataldo added, “She has conducted herself within the confines of her release, so I believe she was an excellent candidate for parole. By no means is she a danger to society.”

In hundreds of texts and statements that came to light after Roy’s suicide, Carter, who was 17 when Roy died, was revealed to have pushed him to go through with the act. The judge who found her guilty cited her written admission to a friend that she told Roy to “get back in” the truck after he stepped out and shared his last-minute fears in a call to Carter before he died.

Roy Family

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Both teens had struggled with depression, and Roy 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.

Texting Suicide
Matt West/The Boston Herald/AP

Her defense team further argued at trial and in her appeal 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 Roy died.

In finding Carter guilty, Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz highlighted two revelations from Carter’s trial. In addition to her statement that she told Roy to “get back in” as he expressed a desire to abort his fatal plan, Carter initially failed to tell anyone else about it, the judge noted.

Police said Carter deliberately misled friends in the days and hours before Roy died, claiming to them that he’d gone missing at the same time the two of them were in contact.

“She did nothing,” said Moniz 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.’”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Updated by Jeff Truesdell
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