Michelle Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Conrad Roy's suicide

By Elaine Aradillas
June 20, 2017 02:13 PM

Recent weeks have been an emotional roller-coaster for the family of Conrad Roy III, who died after then-girlfriend Michelle Carter encouraged him to kill himself through a series of texts and phone calls.

Last week, a Massachusetts judge found Carter, now 20, guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 18-year-old’s death. She faces up to 20 years in prison and her sentencing is scheduled for August 3.

“It’s definitely been a highly emotional time,” Roy’s aunt Becki Maki, tells PEOPLE. “We are pleased with the verdict.”

Maki declined to comment further since Carter’s sentencing is still pending.

A year after Roy’s death, Maki told PEOPLE, “There’s a huge hole in our family. He cared so much about his family. He had a lot of friends. He was an all-American kid that his family was very proud of.”

On July 23, 2014, Roy’s body was found inside his pickup truck parked outside a Kmart in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, where he attached a hose from a portable generator and filled the cab with poisonous carbon monoxide.

During the investigation, officials learned Carter sent Roy more than 1,000 texts leading up to his death, which included, “You’re ready and prepared. All you have to do is turn the generator on and you bee [sic] free and happy. No more pushing it off, no more waiting.”

Conrad Roy
| Credit: Roy Family
Michelle Carter
| Credit: Glenn C.Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News/Pool

In announcing his ruling in the bench trial, for which Carter waived her right to a jury trial, Judge Lawrence Moniz said it was not in fact because of the thousands of texts Carter and Roy exchanged prior to his suicide.

Rather, Moniz’s finding hinged on a single phone call during which Carter urged Roy to get back in his truck after he had exited the vehicle while it filled with toxic fumes. During that call, Carter also listened to Roy dying on the phone and failed to get help.

By exiting the vehicle, Moniz said Roy “breaks the chain of self-causation.”

“Carter’s actions and also her failure to act where she had a self-created duty to Mr. Roy, since she had put him in that toxic environment, constituted each and all wanton and reckless conduct,” Moniz said.

Carter’s lawyer, Joseph Cataldo, tells PEOPLE he does not yet know whether Carter will appeal the verdict.