The Massachusetts woman convicted of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging the suicide of her boyfriend in a series of text messages is appealing her conviction, arguing in documents filed last week that prosecutors “cherry-picked” texts.
Michelle Carter, 21, was sentenced in 2017 to 15-months in jail after the July 2014 suicide of Conrad Roy III. He was 18 at the time and she was 17. The judge suspended the sentence pending Carter’s appeal.
The late Massachusetts teen died of carbon monoxide poisoning after locking himself in his truck.
Roy battled depression, and prosecutors said Carter’s texts encouraging him to kill himself continued even after he expressed his desire to abort his fatal plan by getting out of the truck.
Earlier this year, Carter’s attorneys filed documents with the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts detailing her intent to appeal the conviction. Last week’s filing lays out the legal arguments her lawyers will argue in court.
Carter’s attorneys argue in court documents obtained by PEOPLE that the prosecution’s entire case was based on one long message — and that other texts that purportedly show her compassion were never presented as evidence.
One such message reads: “I’m not giving up on you, it’s just every time I try to help you don’t listen.”
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She also advised him to seek professional help in a number of messages, including one that reads, “You aren’t gonna get better on your own … you need professional help …”
The defense filing argues Carter herself needed help with an eating disorder, and texted Roy, “… we can go together so we will be there for each other.”
The filing states prosecutors “cherry-picked” a message Carter sent to her friend in which she admitted she’d told Roy to “get back in” his truck after he exited with second thoughts. According to the filing, this message was sent to the friend months later, but prosecutors presented it as if she sent it to Roy directly.
“It was Roy, not Carter, who researched the idea, developed the details, obtained the necessary equipment, picked the spot to park his truck, and put his fatal plan in motion,” the appeal states.
The appeal further contends “words alone” cannot be used to convict a defendant who is “absent” during a suicide.
The Supreme Judicial Court has agreed to consider the appeal.
Carter’s defense team has previously indicated they will take the case to federal court if it isn’t overturned at the state level.
Prosecutors said Carter and Roy exchanged more than 1,000 texts in the week prior to Roy’s death.
Among those were ones from her that stated: “You always say you’re gonna do it, but you never do. I just want to make sure tonight is the real thing,” “You just have to do it” and “It’s painless and quick.”