WASHINGTON — Michelle Carter, the Massachusetts woman who sent her boyfriend text messages urging him to kill himself, will be released from jail next week, Boston 25 News learned on Monday, just hours after the Supreme Court left in place her conviction.
Michelle Carter is serving a 15-month sentence after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 death of her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III. A judge determined that Carter, who was 17, caused the death of the 18-year-old Roy when she ordered him in a phone call to get back in his carbon monoxide-filled truck that he’d parked in a Kmart parking lot.
Carter is set to be released from jail on January 23, a spokesperson for the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department confirmed to Boston 25 News on Monday afternoon. Inmates over at the Bristol County House of Corrections - where Carter is serving time - are able to earn time for good behavior.
“There have been no problems and she has been attending programs, which is common at state facilities like the Bristol County House of Correction,” said Jonathan Darling, the spokesperson for the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department.
Carter was supposed to be released in May 2020.
Carter’s phone call with Roy wasn’t recorded, but the judge relied on a text Carter sent her friend in which she said she told Roy to get back in. In text messages sent in the days leading up to Roy’s death, Carter also encouraged Roy to follow through with his suicide plan and chastised him when he didn’t, Massachusetts courts found.
The case has garnered national attention and sparked legislative proposals in Massachusetts to criminalize suicide coercion.
Carter’s lawyers argued in their Supreme Court appeal that the conviction should be thrown out because it was an “unprecedented” violation of her free speech rights that raised crucial questions about whether “words alone” are enough to hold someone responsible for another person’s suicide.
The lawyers also argued there was simply not enough evidence to prove Carter urged Roy to get back in his truck to die, or that he would have lived if she had called for help or taken other actions to try and save his life.
Joseph Cataldo, one of Carter’s lawyers, said Monday's decision was an “injustice” and that the legal team is weighing its next steps. He didn't elaborate.
“The U.S. Supreme Court not accepting Michelle Carter’s petition at this time is unfortunate," he said in a statement. “Clearly many legal scholars and many in the legal community understand the dangers this precedent created by the Massachusetts courts.”
Carter has been serving her sentence at the Bristol County House of Correction in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
“Ms. Carter continues to attend programs, is getting along with other inmates, is polite to our staff and volunteers, and we’ve had no discipline issues at all,” Jonathan Darling, a spokesman for the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, said in an email.
You are not alone. If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website.