As Michelle Carter’s trial comes to a close, ABC News confirms that Carter has been sentenced to only two and a half years in prison for her involvement in her boyfriend’s suicide. The 20-year-old, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter back in June for convincing her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, to kill himself.
In case you’ve completely missed this trial’s media coverage over the last three years, NBC News reports that Carter was 17 when she was charged as a youthful offender. During the summer of 2014, Carter had the opportunity to help prevent her boyfriend’s suicide, as he was confiding in her at the time. However, Carter's text messages illustrate that she actually contributed to Roy's death. Roy killed himself by inhaling carbon monoxide inside a car. At one point during the process, he got out of the car and called Carter. If he had remained outside the car, he may have survived, but Carter told him to get back in.
Even if you have no idea how to talk to someone who is in crisis, you probably know that you shouldn't tell a loved one who is contemplating suicide anything like this: "The time is right and you're ready, you just need to do it! You can't keep living this way. You just need to do it like you did last time and not think about it and just do it babe." Yup, that's what Carter texted Roy. In a situation like this you should encourage a loved one to seek treatment, but Carter apparently didn't get that memo.
Sharon Beckman, a Boston College Law School professor and director of the Boston College Innocence Program, told BuzzFeed News, “It would be wrong for the judge to give Ms. Carter the maximum sentence since he should consider not only the offense but also Ms. Carter's personal characteristics and moral culpability, taking into account that she was a juvenile with her own mental health struggles.”
If Carter had received the maximum sentence for her crime, she could've landed in prison for up to 20 years. In comparison to the maximum sentence, the final decision seems like a Saturday detention. Carter’s own mental health was in question throughout the trial, and hopefully she'll also get the help she needs over the next few years to prevent anything like this from happening again. Needless to say, there are a lot of mixed emotions involved in Carter's sentencing.