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Michelle Carter, who pressured friend to commit suicide, denied parole but will get early release for good behavior

2019-09-20

The Massachusetts woman jailed for encouraging a suicidal friend to take his own life will get a reprieve from her 15-month sentence despite the fact that a parole board announced Friday it opted to deny her recent request for early release.

Michelle Carter appeared before the state parole board Thursday after serving seven months behind bars at the Bristol County House of Corrections in Dartmouth. She was convicted in 2017 of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 18-year-old beau, Conrad Roy III, who committed suicide in 2014.

“The board is troubled that Ms. Carter not only encouraged Mr. Conrad to take his own life, she actively prevented others from intervening in his suicide,” the resolution states. “Ms. Carter’s self-serving statements and behavior, leading up to and after his suicide, appear to be irrational and lacked sincerity. Ms. Carter needs to further address her causative factors that led to the governing offense.”

But Carter has been working toward an early release through other avenues. Since she began serving time in February, the 22-year-old has enrolled in programs that have helped shaved months off her sentence.

Johnathan Darling, a public information officer for the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, said inmates at the jail can earn up to 10 days off their sentences each month for upstanding behavior and self-betterment.

“Inmates at the Bristol County Correctional Facility earn ‘Good Time,’ or time off their sentences, for things like attending programs and educational classes, as well as having a job inside the jail,” Darling said in a statement to the Daily News.

“Ms. Carter’s original end of sentence date was May 5, 2020 but because of the Good Time she has earned, her current end of sentence date is March 13, 2020.”

Carter was only 17 years old when she sent a flurry of text messages goading Roy into his suicide on July 13, 2014. That night, Roy parked his truck in a Kmart parking lot in Fairhaven and allowed it to fill with carbon monoxide.

When he had second thoughts, Carter wrote in one message to him that “you keep pushing it off and say you’ll do it but u never do. It’s always gonna be that way if u don’t take action.”

“I think your parents know you’re in a really bad place,” she wrote. “I’m not saying they want you to do it, but I honestly feel like they can expect it. They know there’s nothing they can do, they’ve tried helping, everyone’s tried.”

At one point, she also told Roy to “get back in” his vehicle when he got scared.

Since Roy’s tragic death more than five years ago, Massachusetts lawmakers have recommended “Conrad’s Law,” which would make coercing someone into suicide a punishment of up to five years behind bars.

Carter’s lawyers have been working to appeal her conviction, arguing that her texts should be constitutionally protected as free speech by the First Amendment and that her right to due process was violated. The case has been presented to the United States Supreme Court, where they hope the conviction will be overturned and vacated.

The nation’s highest court has not yet confirmed whether it will take on the case.