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 on Friday announced it opted to deny her recent request for early release.
Michelle Carter was convicted in 2017 of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 18-year-old beau, Conrad Roy II, who died by suicide in 2014. She started serving out her sentence in February and has since enrolled in programs that have helped her shave months off of her prison time.
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 Farmington and allowed it to fill with carbon Monoxide.
When he had second thoughts, Carter said in one message 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 on Thursday appeared before the state Parole Board, seeking release after serving seven months behind bars.
Her lawyers have been working to appeal her conviction, arguing that her texts should be constitutionally protected as free speech by the First Amendment. 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.