Court deciding whether to charge teen with manslaughter for encouraging suicide

Defense says Michelle Carter's messages were protected speech

Michelle Carter
In this Aug. 24, 2015 file photo, Michelle Carter listens to defense attorney Joseph P. Cataldo argue for an involuntary manslaughter charge against her to be dismissed at Juvenile Court in New Bedford, Mass. Carter, of Plainville, Mass., is charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly pressuring Conrad Roy III, of Fairhaven, Mass., to commit suicide in 2014. Her lawyer will ask the Supreme Judicial Court Thursday, April 7, 2016, to overrule a lower court judge who refused to dismiss the youthful offender indictment against her, which makes her eligible for up to 20 years in prison instead of a lower sentence if she was prosecuted as a juvenile. (Peter Pereira/Standard Times via AP, Pool, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – It will be up to the state’s highest court to determine whether a teen who allegedly encouraged her boyfriend’s suicide should be charged with manslaughter.

Michelle Carter is charged with involuntary manslaughter following the death of Conrad Roy, III. She allegedly sent dozens of text messages to Roy, encouraging him to kill himself.

When Roy’s plan to poison himself with carbon monoxide started to work, he got scared and got out of his truck. Carter allegedly told him to get back inside.

Related Story: Court to hear case of teen who sent texts urging suicide

The defense argues that the text messages are protected free speech, and didn’t necessarily cause his death.

Some people aren’t buying that defense.

“If I was the mother of that child that was dead, I think that she should get some kind of a punishment. Somebody lost a child through text messages. And she is going to be free? No,” Wendy Santos of Holyoke said.

If she is found guilty, Carter could face up to 20 years in prison.

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