U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Michelle Carter's Appeal of Conviction in Suicide Texting Case
Michelle Carter still will be released early from her 15-month sentence for involuntary manslaughter for "good time" served in jail
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear Michelle Carter‘s appeal of her conviction for urging her teen boyfriend via texts and phone calls to kill himself.
Without comment, the court revealed its rejection of the appeal on Monday.
The decision lets stand the earlier conviction in Massachusetts — previously upheld by that state’s Supreme Judicial Court — that held Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter related to the 2014 suicide of her boyfriend, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III.
Carter, who is serving a 15-month sentence, was 17 on July 13, 2014, when Roy was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in his pickup truck in the parking lot of a Fairhaven Kmart.
In hundreds of texts and statements that came to light afterward, Carter was revealed to have pressured Roy to go through with the act. The judge who found her guilty cited Carter’s written admission to a friend that, after Roy 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 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.
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Her defense team argued that Carter’s statements were covered by First Amendment free-speech protections, and that she shouldn’t be found guilty for a crime because of words alone, especially when she wasn’t on the scene where Roy committed suicide.
But 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,” Bristol County 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’s effort to have her conviction heard and overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court came after a similar appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was denied.
Seven months into her 15-month sentence, Carter sought permission from the Massachusetts parole board to to be set free early. In September, that request also was denied.
“The [board] is troubled that Ms. Carter not only encouraged [Roy] to take his own life, she actively prevented others from intervening in his suicide,” states the written decision by the parole board 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.”
Thanks to “good time” credit accrued for her participation in jail programs at the Bristol County House of Corrections, Carter still will walk out of jail well-ahead of her original May 5 release date. Inmates 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, previously told PEOPLE.
Contacted Monday, Darling said via email that Carter’s current end-of-sentence date is January 23.